April 2nd   Leave a comment

One of the chiff-chaffs that arrived at Fife Ness this weekend

And back to winter as the seasonal tennis match continues. The prevailing wind is continuing with cold easterlies and showers. The black redstarts didn’t take the opportunity to leave last night. It was relatively still and clear – perfect for migration – but the redstarts must still need to regain their body condition for the next leg, or they anticipated the storm today that they would have met as a headwind over the North Sea. Black redstarts winter in southern Spain and northern Africa and move up to breed in northern Europe in March. They are relatively short distance migrants: it is 2,300 km from Mediterranean Algeria to Fife Ness. This is about two thirds of a bird the size of a black redstart’s maximum range in a single flight. If our current Fife Ness birds were heading for somewhere like Denmark or southern Sweden and got blown off course over the North Sea in last week’s storms then they may have completely run down their reserves. They then would need five or so days of good feeding, at least, to regain their fat reserves. And conditions for feeding today, unlike yesterday were far from ideal. The two redstarts today were below the caravans at Fife Ness, sticking to the lee of the rocks, and often disappearing in the crevices or even underneath them in their search for invertebrates to fuel up on.

The male black redstart at Fife Ness this morning

I found my first chiff-chaffs of the year. One calling up at Craighead and then another in the Patch at Fife Ness. They were keeping their heads down like the black redstarts and feeding deep within bushes. Down on Balcomie Beach the washed in timber is being replaced by washed up corpses. A guillemot, a razorbill, more shags and a common porpoise.

The common porpoise washed up on Balcomie Beach

Posted April 2, 2018 by wildcrail in Sightings

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