October 13th   Leave a comment

I couldn’t resist another chance of refinding the shore lark yesterday so I tried Balcomie and Fife Ness at low tide first thing this morning. There is much more shore lark habitat – open flat muddy and shingly beach areas – at low tide. It was very quiet in the noise sense: there were plenty of birds and for once I was able to hear them, with no wind and before the cars and go karts got started at the airfield. Although you then start noticing the lower levels of noise pollution. The golf club has various carts and buggies racing round early before play starts and these were a low drone in the background. But still better than usual. The seals singing from the rocks offshore was one of the loudest noises. It is not really singing, but nice enough as a soundscape mixed with the gently lapping waves. I was able to easily pick out a twite flying over Balcomie Beach as it called, distant geese flocks (there were a lot moving past from the Lothians to further north this morning) and even the soft, mournful song of an out of season singing mistle thrush somewhere in the back of the Patch. The best noise, however, was the shrill whistle of a kingfisher, somewhere among the rock pools and channels of the lower shore by stinky pool. I thought I heard one a few weeks ago but it wasn’t clear enough. This morning I could hear it piping every so often as I sat at Fife Ness looking out to sea. I scanned the shore too but didn’t see it. Kingfishers, for such a gaudy bird, dispappear on a rocky shore. They are small and their bright colours are surprisingly disruptive at a distance. At sea there was another great northern diver past (white face glowing) and a smattering of various ducks: goosander, velvet scoter, common scoter, wigeon, eider, mallard and my first long-tailed duck of the winter. The best bird was a juvenile puffin sitting on the sea close in. I hardly ever see puffins in winter, let alone juveniles which are usually very far out to sea by this time of year.

Juvenile puffin (JA)

Posted October 13, 2019 by wildcrail in Sightings

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