June 2nd   Leave a comment

It seems a much quieter weekend than last. The winds are still fairly good but there was no sign of anything new in at Kilminning. In fact, the shore at Fife Ness and Balcomie felt more summery than spring. There was a flock of about 40 arctic terns loafing on the rocks at low tide like it was August. They should be busy breeding so maybe these were off duty birds. A pair were mating so perhaps they are just at the stage before laying when the females need to feed up so they can produce eggs and the males stay very close to their females to ensure that they are the ones fathering her chicks. I will be able to see what stage they actually are at when I visit the May Island on Monday. The first moulting goosander of the season swimming around the rocks where the terns were added to the summer feel.

Arctic tern at Balcomie

I spent an hour or so staking out the wheat fields at Old Barns, where the yellow wagtails are, to confirm breeding. They were feeding chicks, with birds regularly shuttling backwards and forwards to a bit of tramline in the middle of one of the fields. At one point I counted 4 birds above the 20 meter or so general area they kept coming back to. Yellow wagtails can nest in loose colonies sometimes so two nests this close together would not be particularly unusual. At various times I also saw two females and probably two males carrying large beakfuls of insects to the nest area and then flying away with a faecal sac each (young songbirds often present their droppings to the adult after being fed, which the adult then takes well away from the nest to keep it tidy and also inconspicuous). So fairly good evidence for two active yellow wagtail nests this year, and probably both well on the way to fledging chicks.

One of the male yellow wagtails breeding just outside Crail this year

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Posted June 2, 2018 by aboutcrail in Sightings

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