October 25th   Leave a comment

Spare a thought for one of the best birds we have in Crail. Almost every day of the year – except maybe a few in May and June you will find curlews along the shore. In Roome Bay there are usually a couple striding around the rocks, often inconspicuous despite their large size. When spotted they are fairly unmistakeable with their absurdly long curved bills. In flight they look a bit like young gulls until you see their bills. But why spare a thought for them apart from the fact they are wonderful? At the moment they are arguably the breeding species which is declining the fastest in the UK. In Scotland the breeding population has declined by over 50% in just 16 years. The UK holds 28% of the European breeding population so this is worrying, although globally the species extends all the way to the Pacific in Russia and there may be a million pairs there. The wintering population, which includes some Russian birds, has declined by 20% so there may be a problem in Russia too. Why curlews are declining is a bit of a mystery and subject to ongoing research at the moment. But curlew species globally have a bit of a problem – something about them makes them vulnerable. The slender-billed curlew – once a common European wintering bird – probably became extinct in the 1990s; the eskimo curlew – also formerly very common in the Americas – probably became extinct in the 1980s. Modern day dodos. It would be unthinkable for our Crail curlew to disappear as well.

A Crail curlew – still here

Posted October 25, 2017 by wildcrail in Sightings

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