May 7th   Leave a comment

There are still a lot of wheatears around: I saw several on spring sown wheat fields around Crail today, although there are only a handful left on the rocky shore at Balcomie. The whimbrels are still about in smaller numbers too including one with some wheatears in a field up at the Stockwell’s farm. I was out most of the day looking for corn buntings so was looking at a lot of fields. I discovered today that they take a bit of a singing holiday between 9 – 11 in the morning, and a repeat visit in the afternoon to the same fields I checked earlier in the day turned up quite a few more. The easiest place to see corn buntings around Crail is on the track past the rape field out from Balcomie Caravan Park to Wormiston. There is usually a singing bird right by the track on top of one of the taller rape plants. I think there are at least 3 corn bunting pairs around this field. Another easy one is half way along the second field on your left as you head out of Crail on the road to Fife Ness. There is a single bush about two meters high just by the road and the corn bunting is usually – and very conspicuously – on top of this.

The corn bunting that is singing in the rape field by Balcomie Caravan Park

I had a sea watch from Fife Ness mid-afternoon. The wind was southerly today so brought seabirds in fairly close. The usual early summer crowd of kittiwakes, gannets and auks were passing by. Two little gulls also came past heading north – they are much scarcer in the spring than in the late summer. A pair of common scoters came past heading south. The male, I noticed, had a white belly. I expect them to be all black. First year birds, however, have a white belly, and this male almost looked like a tufted duck as it came past. Which reminds me. The pair of tufted ducks is back on the pond at Wormiston House, and they look like they will breed there again.

Common scoter – the 5th one from the left is an immature male like I saw today. A typical all black adult male is the second from left. In the middle are two females.

Posted May 7, 2018 by wildcrail in Sightings

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