August 9th   Leave a comment

The most likely falcon you might see every day in Crail is the kestrel. There are pairs likely breeding at Kilminning, near Saucehope and towards Caiplie. This means that sooner or later you will come across a kestrel hovering along the coastal path, looking for a mouse or vole in the grass below. At least some of the pairs have bred successfully this year so there are more kestrels about now than usual. The only other falcons we regularly get in Crail are peregrines and merlins. Peregrines are large, bulky and short tailed, whereas merlins are small, very dashing and often reminiscent of a sparrowhawk on initial view. Merlins are commonest around Crail in August because of dispersing juveniles and hunt occasionally through gardens right in the centre. But if your falcon looks light and leisurely, and if it hovers then it will be a kestrel. They are often so concentrated on the ground beneath them when they are hovering, watching for the slightest movement below, that you can approach them within a few meters. They will pounce right in front of you and then suddenly shoot off, surprised themselves, when they shift attention from the hunt to their surroundings.

A Crail kestrel hunting along the coastal path this week

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Posted August 9, 2018 by aboutcrail in Sightings

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