November 3rd   Leave a comment

It is still blowing a good breeze from the east although it is a swirling easterly around a low in the North Sea rather than a wind blowing across from the continent. Still it inspires hope, especially with the frequent rain showers for the last 24 hours. I spent 30 minutes in the hide at Fife Ness, grateful for the shelter. Viewing conditions are the best on days like these. Bright, but grey, making the birds contrast well, and the showers removing any dust or haze so you can see well to the horizon. Sadly, not much to see though. Gannets and a few auks and kittiwakes; a flock of male long-tailed ducks heading north, barely visible between the wave troughs, and a goosander and a male goldeneye doing the same.

Male goldeneye (JA)

When I arrived at Kilminning on the way back to Crail I immediately heard the high, soft ringing trill of a waxwing. I thought it was bird flying over but I kept hearing it. I found the bird on top of a willow, being buffeted in the breeze, calling constantly and looking around intently to find some companions. Waxwings are very, very gregarious and spend the whole winter in big flocks moving from berry bush to berry bush. It looked very lonely, and after five minutes it flew off strongly towards Crail, still calling. Waxings are very boom and bust birds for Crail, and Scotland in general. Some winters we have them everywhere and they become familiar to people because they are tame and like supermarket car parks (which are often planted with berry bearing rowan or whitebeam trees) and gardens. Other winters they are a great rarity. The last one I saw in Crail was 2012 so it has been a while, although I am often away in November when they tend to pass through here on their way further inland. The waxwing today may the first of many so it is worth checking out your garden this week, particularly if you have a big berry bearing bush or tree.

The lonely waxwing at Kilminning this morning (WC)
Waxwing (JA)

Posted November 3, 2019 by wildcrail in Sightings

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