August 4th   Leave a comment

The shore down at Balcomie and Fife Ness is alive again after its summer lull. There were lots of redshanks, curlews and dunlin on the rocky shore this morning. The usual flock of moulting goosanders has reconvened – it is usually to be found just as the coastal path gets to the north end of Balcomie Golf Course. From Fife Ness there were few auks to be seen but the gannets are working their hardest now, passing out and back in to the Forth to service their now very big chicks on the Bass Rock. There were lots of sandwich terns with their attendant noisy juveniles but the arctic terns passing have few young with them. The breeders on the May Island have had a few disasters this summer with herring gulls taking most of the eggs and chicks. There was a flock of (probably disconsolate) adults on the rocky shore just out from Balcomie Beach. Two terns passing to the north caught my eye – they were all white with a very definite black leading edge to the wing, and looking shape wise like a cross between sandwich and common terns – two adult roseate terns. A regular at this time of year for Balcomie, but always hard to find amongst all the other terns.

Roseate tern – this one on the May Island s a few years’ ago. They are very rare breeders in the UK.

The yellow wagtails continue their residency down at Barnsmuir. There are now fledged juveniles with the adults, and they are feeding as a group at times in the horse fields. They are often away of course, feeding less obviously in the fields around, where they disappear with only their calls when they fly to another field giving them away.

A couple of years ago we put a pond in our back garden. We put local frog spawn into it for two springs but this year the spawn appeared all of its own (well I suspect the five large frogs that were in the pond in March might have had something to do with it). The pond has been full of tadpoles since, but while I was away they metamorphosed. And now we have a garden full of tiny frogs. We hope to repeat the trick with toads, but they seem to be taking a bit longer – there are half grown toads in the garden from the toad tadpoles we have put in the pond over the two years like the frogs, but not anything full grown like the big adult frogs that are now fully resident in our garden, and who are responsible for this year’s froglets. It’s so encouraging to create a place for frogs in the garden where there were none before. It’s such a pleasure to see them jumping into the bushes or poking their heads out of the pond or hearing their soft croaking on a warm summer evening like tonight. Toads are even better – I love the fact that one of the tiny toadlets that made it out of the pond two years ago might grow into a huge toad that might still be eating slugs in the vegetable patch in 20 years time.

One of our new little froglets making its new life on land. It is so small that it can walk over the duckweed without sinking.

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Posted August 4, 2018 by aboutcrail in Sightings

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