September 28th   Leave a comment

More easterlies on Tuesday and getting stronger on Wednesday and then finally some heavy rain for a few hours on Wednesday night. Thursday dawned bright and sunny, with little wind. A perfect stage for finding some migrant birds around Crail. I checked out Kilminning and Balcomie first thing this morning: at least 4 yellow-browed warblers, chiff-chaffs, blackcaps, a willow warbler, the first brambling of the year, lots of new song thrushes and robins, a couple of redpolls and the barred warbler starting its second week at the south end of Kilminning. After its shyness of the weekend the barred warbler is now feeding on elder berries, popping out of cover to eat them and being nicely and regularly visible. It should stay around for another week or two and as the leaves start to fall and it continues to feed on elder berries it should be fairly easy to see. The best vantage point is the first “bay” south of the ruined  toilet block, where there is a dense dog rose bush, backed by the elders it is favouring, and just to the north of the whitebeams (not rowans as I called them last week) where I first found it. On my back to Crail there was a northern wheatear in the stubble by the airfield. Finally I checked Denburn Wood optimistically for a red-flanked blue-tail. They have got a lot more common in the autumn in the UK and the conditions over the last three days were exactly what brought the last three birds to Denburn.

The barred warbler now in residence at Kilminning for its second week

Last thing this afternoon I checked out the Patch at Fife Ness. Another 3 yellow-browed warblers at least, a lesser whitethroat, a blackcap and some more chiff-chaffs. The yellow-brows seem to be calling quite regularly this year and so are not hard to find – or there are a lot of them about. On my way back I stopped off at the tall sycamores around Balcomie Castle to look for a pied flycatcher reported there. I found it after quite a long search because it was keeping right to the top of the canopy and picking insects off the trunks and branches rather than conspicuously flycatching. This is the first Crail pied flycatcher of the autumn and very late. They are usually a common and reliable “scarce” migrant from late August onwards. The breeding season was late in parts of Scandinavia this year so we may just be at the start of a late passage season. Time will tell as we move into October next week and the peak period for unusual birds in Crail.

Yellow-browed warbler – I found at least 7 today

Posted September 28, 2017 by wildcrail in Sightings

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