January 13th   Leave a comment

The distribution of birds in winter is much patchier than in the summer. This was really well illustrated by a walk through Kippo wood above Kingsbarns this morning. There was a flock of coal tits as I entered the wood and then absolutely nothing except a couple of blackbirds until I reached Kenly Farm on the other side where there was a big flock of fieldfares. On the way back through the stubble on one side, I put up just two meadow pipits and saw a couple of buzzards, but after crossing the wood again to the other side (hearing a jay on the way) it was a different world. Hundreds of chaffinches and yellowhammers with a sprinkling of starlings and mistle thrushes feeding in the stubble there. Everything was pretty much concentrated into one field corner by the main road, flying back into the wood when disturbed. All the woodland birds seemed to be concentrated there too – big tit flocks and even a flock of at least 6 treecreepers. It really is boom and bust but makes sense. The birds congregate where there is food, where there is shelter and there is safety in numbers. In summer a bird’s needs are much greater (to raise chicks) and its requirements much more specialised, not least in needing to have a fixed nest site, so a permanent territory needs to be found and maintained. In winter, they can be less fussy and of course much more mobile.

Male chaffinch – there is a flock of hundreds along the road at Kippo Wood at the moment

Posted January 13, 2019 by wildcrail in Sightings

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