October 7th   Leave a comment

John and I were out at Roome Bay thirty minutes before sunrise this morning. We staked out the gorse bushes hoping to hear some early morning pinging and then perhaps to get a photo before it moved on. It was a cold windy dawn and there was no sign of the bearded tit of last night. It may just have been hunkering down out of the wind, but probably it left with the clear skies and calm conditions of last night like a true migrant. There were a couple of redwings that passed over as we waited.

It stayed windy, becoming even windier in the afternoon. It was high tide at Balcomie when I went along the coastal path. There were groups of redshanks and dunlins, with a few turnstone all along the high tide line, feeding on the stranded seaweed piles. As one flock of dunlin flew up in front of me I saw one bird was smaller, neater and whiter looking. A little stint – a once a year bird for Crail. It landed nearby and I was able to watch it picking among the seaweed, looking small next to the dunlins, and tiny next to the redshanks. It was a juvenile with a neat double “V” of white on its back.

The little stint at Balcomie this afternoon in various poses to show how distinctive they are compared to a dunlin (on the left) and tiny compared to a redshank. The middle photo shows the back “V” of a juvenile well.

At Fife Ness it was windier still, with distant rain showers out to sea. Still large flocks of gannets diving well offshore with a couple of sooty shearwaters and three great skuas hanging around too. A couple of pomarine skuas passed heading north; one a dark juvenile and the other an intermediate. In contrast to yesterday there were far fewer kittiwakes and many more guillemots – probably hundreds passing in the hour I was there. There haven’t been any terns this weekend, or any swallows around Crail and as I watched my first fieldfare of the autumn come in from well out to sea, just above the waves to minimise the cold headwind, it felt fairly wintery.

Lots of guillemots passing Fife Ness today

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Posted October 7, 2018 by aboutcrail in Sightings

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