April 25th   Leave a comment

The easterly and south-easterly winds have continued over the last three days, and we had some rain showers last night. Good conditions for finding migrants although the heavier rain forecast later today and tomorrow night might really make it good. Today’s top migrants were lesser whitethroats. There were two and probably three, at least, at the bottom of Kilminning, foraging in the tree tops with blackcaps and willow warblers, and occasionally giving their rattily song: and I heard another singing as I drove past the old Waid School site in Anstruther this afternoon. Lesser whitethroats are never very common here and usually turn up only in ones or twos, so this represents a mini invasion. 

Lesser whitethroat (JA)

There was also a handsome male pied flycatcher at the bottom of Kilminning. I hardly ever get to see a male in nice summer plumage so I greatly appreciated it. This is a good bird this early in the spring, although in some years in “fall” conditions (right time of year, 3 days of easterlies and then overnight heavy rain…) we can have tens of pied flycatchers around Crail – but almost always in autumn when the males are much duller brown rather than pied.

The male pied flycatcher at Kilminning this morning (WC)

Other migrants in today were a couple of northern wheatears at Balcomie, a yellow wagtail flying over Kilminning (would have been a star bird a few years ago before they started breeding by Crail) and a few common whitethroats. My first of the year and very vigorously singing. Soon every hedgerow and clump of bushes will have a common whitethroat in it.

Common whitethroat (JA)

And last, but not least, there was a short-eared owl between Crail and Caiplie today. I saw it this morning over the fields being mobbed by crows and then later, this evening, it was looking forlorn in the fog perched on a dyke beside the main road. Whether this is also a migrant or the West Braes bird of the winter that hasn’t left yet I don’t know, but probably more likely the former. 

Shoret-eared owl (JA)

Posted April 25, 2019 by wildcrail in Sightings

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