October 24th   Leave a comment

One or two things have cropped up on the east coast a bit further south and the May Island had a radde’s warbler yesterday (only one has turned up in Crail during my time here). This is despite the winds not being very good, although there was a little bit of easterly yesterday and some rain overnight. I tried Kilminning and Balcomie this morning just in case. There was a flock of redpolls and then siskins which are obvious migrants, and also two chiff-chaffs at the top. One was an “eastern” bird with the “sue-ee” call, which on occasions went to a single sad syllable like a Siberian chiff-chaff. It was a very cold greyish bird with only a hint of greenish yellow on the wing. A flock of several hundred pink-footed geese flew over and as I scanned the flock I picked up three snipe – they could have been jack snipe – flying high overhead.

The “eastern” chiff-chaff at Kilminning first thing this morning (WC)
The bird above, but better to appreciate its grey tones (WC)

At the bottom of Kilmminning there were another three chiff-chaffs in a lively tit flock, a blackcap and three bullfinches. It was a still morning so I could hear their constant, very soft whistling that they do as a contact call – much like their normal louder flight call, just so quiet that I needed to be a few meters away to hear it. The bullfinches were feeding on sea buckthorn and then whitebeam berries.

Female or juvenile male bullfinch (WC)
Male bullfinch (WC)

A black redstart was found by John Anderson at Balcomie later in the morning.  I must have walked past it. I popped down in the afternoon and refound it straight away on the stone dyke at the back of the horse field, in the corner where the asparagus has been planted. In fact, exactly the same location as the last black redstart at Balcomie, the first winter male or female on April 20th this year. That rough field edge with its stone wall perch and associated ruined buildings close by must be a perfect spot. This bird was a male and very mobile, using the whole of the horse field and the farm buildings, although mostly the east side of the horse field.

The male black redstart at Balcomie this afternoon (WC)
And a close up from John (JA)

Posted October 24, 2019 by wildcrail in Sightings

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