January 1st 2020   Leave a comment

I had my usual New Year’s bird racing day where I try to see as many species as I can for the new year list on the Crail patch – 10km maximum from my house. Despite having all day free from dawn until dusk it was a shorter list than usual – 74 rather than in the 80s. I started at Boarhills, then Kingsbarns, Kippo Wood, Carnbee reservoir, Balcomie Beach and Fife Ness, Kilminning and then Roome Bay, back in Crail. I saw much as I might expect but just kept missing easy birds like meadow pipit, kittiwake, sparrowhawk and corn bunting, and there were no lucky birds like a merlin or a twite. It was a grey day as well, not very inspiring for the New Year. It only really got light at 9 this morning and by this afternoon most birds had given up for the day – seawatching at Fife Ness was the quietest I have ever seen it. My highlights were 6 or so greenshank at Boarhills, including one calling before first light to make it the 4th bird of the year, a big flock of starlings and fieldfare, and common snipe popping up all over at Carnbee, and stonechats feeding on the fairway like wheatears at Balcomie.

The first bird of the year – a grey heron. Mine was flying over my house in the pitch dark as I set off this morning at 7:30 am (JA)
A greenshank – several this morning. Not a common wintering bird but 4th on the list today. Most winter south of the Sahara, but they are becoming more common here now as the climate gets warmer. (JA)
The last bird of today – a fulmar just after 3 pm from Fife Ness (JA)

Posted January 1, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

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