August 4th   Leave a comment

Its been a weekend of small highlights. Nothing special but taken together a nice couple of days in Crail. I had my first flock of little gulls of the autumn. A mixed flock of 38 adult and first summer little gulls, with kittiwakes, black-headed gulls, sandwich and common terns, feeding a few hundred meters out from the rocks at Balcomie. As I watched them, closer black-headed gulls on the shore flew up in a wave from the south – a peregrine approaching. A juvenile male flew in, trying its luck on a flock of linnets, some golden plovers and something hidden down in a field before continuing, still in hunting mode, towards Crail. There were the first juvenile dunlins of the year on Balcomie beach, with a small group of very tame ringed plover, as if they hardly ever see people between Spitsbergen and the remote West African beach they might be headed for. Last night I heard another flock of ringed plover flying over my garden – invisible in the starlight but calling away as they migrated. This morning four juvenile yellow wagtails were reported from the field where there was almost certainly an active nest with chicks in it 4 weeks ago. I went looking this afternoon and had a lovely time checking through the tens of pied wagtails amongst the sheep that are now in the harvested brassica field, eventually seeing one flying up and away headed towards Barnsmuir. A great end to the season – fledged chicks from a second nest, and probably there have been at least 5 nests this season. The timings of them all suggest that they may all have fledged chicks. I had a flock of 130 tree sparrows (perhaps many more – the bushes were full of them) at Wormiston Farm, feeding on the corn bunting strips and in a ripe winter wheat field. There are a lot of juvenile tree sparrows about at the moment which is very encouraging: there are big flocks at Thirdpart, between Crail and Kilrenny and at the usual hotspot at Troustie House. And a final small highlight was watching the brilliant azure common blue damselflies patrolling above the irrigation ponds at Troustie – and of course the painted ladies that are still, although less common now, everywhere.  

Little Gull (JA)
Common blue damselfly (WC)

Posted August 4, 2019 by wildcrail in Sightings

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