November 25th   Leave a comment

There have been some good high tide gatherings this weekend. At Balcomie on the midday high tide on Saturday there were a couple of hundred black-headed, common and herring gulls picking for seaweed fly maggots on the tide line, with the same number of redshank, turnstone, starlings and purple sandpiper doing the same a few meters away on the strand line piles of seaweed. They would all fly up every thirty seconds or so as a particularly big wave washed in before reassorting back into their wet and “dry” zones. It made for the usual exciting spectacle of birds constantly in motion and having to check and recheck them just in case there was something more unusual among them. John had a Mediterranean gull with the black-headed gulls yesterday, but it was not there today.

Left black-headed gull and right Mediterranean gull – at Balcomie on Friday. A great photo to show their differences as if they were posing for a field guide

If you have been around St Andrews first thing in the morning the last few days you will have noticed the large number of pink-footed geese heading out from the Eden estuary to feed in the East Neuk. Weeks with a full moon are always good for movements of geese as they can feed during the night. Pink-footed geese are doing well in the UK – almost all of the Greenland and Iceland population winter here. There are estimated to be about 360,000 pink-footed geese, up by 50% in the last ten years. It is good that some things are increasing, although two hundred years ago I suspect they would have been much more common.

Pink-footed geese – they are nocturnal on nights with good moonlight

I had another flock of about 15 corn buntings at Kingsbarns today, in the stubble field directly alongside the road to the beach. This year there was a really high density of singing males as you headed north along the coast from there. There may have been as many as 7 territories. And they seem to be hanging around them this winter as do the local Crail birds.

Posted November 25, 2018 by wildcrail in Sightings

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