June 27th   Leave a comment

I took a slow route to work this morning, cycling up the secret bunker road, back down towards Kingsbarns past Kippo, and then across around and through Upper and Lower Kenly farms. I was looking for corn buntings. These areas don’t have more than a handful of birds. Hopefully they will spread out to them, but apparently not this year. When I map the corn buntings each year, obvious holes appear. Some of them are, like today, places where they don’t occur, but others are places where no-one has checked yet. False negatives. Well today was an exercise in turning unknown negatives into true negatives – as my PhD supervisor used to say (and it sounds better in his Geordie accent) – “good negative data”. The only corn buntings I found off the beaten track were ones on the edge that I knew about already. A good sign that we have covered the ground this year. Other new corn buntings were between known singing males in high density areas at the sea end of the Kenly Burn and between Wormiston and Cambo. They really like the fields close to the sea. Very similar fields just a kilometre inland hardly have any. We still have a few weeks of the season to go, but the total number of male singing corn buntings (the index we use to keep track of the population because they are easy to count – although the joker in the pack is that a male may sometimes have 2 or 3 females and nests on the go in a territory…) is up to 160. The total last year was 164 and that includes the farms that the RSPB volunteers monitor in much more detail – they get the joker multiple occupancy territories. It looks like the total will go well above 170 when the RSPB add their bit and so the population is still increasing. There were a lot of corn buntings at the end of the mild winter so perhaps not surprising, but still great news. The wildflower strips, fallow fields and the winter feeding are really making a difference.

Looks like another good year for the corn buntings of Crail (JA)

The wind is a bit easterly bringing the seabirds in closer to Crail. I enjoyed the auks and the manx shearwaters passing this evening, Two male velvet scoters came past, still in immaculate plumage, although I suspect they will be off to a quiet bit of coast to moult now. Their orange bills and white eye patches were positively glowing as they passed by the end of my garden.

Two drake velvet scoters (JA)

Posted June 27, 2019 by wildcrail in Sightings

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