December 21st   Leave a comment

A walk through Crail this morning turned up two good birds. First a chiff-chaff in one of the walled gardens by the pottery. It was feeding very busily on tiny insects picked off the branches of a small tree. I tried to make into a Siberian chiff-chaff, but it was more brownish than grey and no real hint of green in the wings. Wintering chiff-chaffs are quite unusual in Crail. I only see one every few years. Down south in England they are much more common as a wintering bird.

Chiff-chaff (JA)

Then down at Roome Bay I was watching the turnstones turning over the kelp fronds on the beach, directly below the path because it was high tide, when I noticed a dark robin with a shivering tail perched on a seaweed stalk. A black redstart, feeding on the kelp insects as well. Black redstarts in Crail in winter are quite rare. We have them regularly on passage – three out at Balcomie this year in April and October, for example – but a wintering bird is much more unusual. A couple in the last 10 years, with one in 2011 that spent a couple of months down below the cliffs at Roome Bay. I found that bird about this time of year so maybe this bird will stay resident too. It’s a great site down below the cliffs. Lots of small birds are attracted to forage on the insects and sandhoppers that are concentrated in the rotting seaweed of the tideline: today there were wrens, dunnocks, rock pipits, and pied and grey wagtails feeding with the black redstart.

The female (or more likely 1st winter male black redstart considering the white in the wing) black redstart at Roome Bay this morning (WC)
The same black redstart this morning (JA)

Posted December 21, 2019 by wildcrail in Sightings

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