February 14th   Leave a comment

There was a flock of 25 corn buntings on the wires at Saucehope. There are still two stubble fields there and the numbers have been building up again. It’s a good sign for the next breeding season’s numbers. There is a similar sized flock around another of their hotspots at Kilrenny – again a late stubble field the epicentre. Two months and we will be recording their territories again, although they will be occupying them and singing long before then. Probably right after this run of storms plays out in a couple of weeks.

25 corn buntings at Saucehope this afternoon (WC)

Further up the stubble field at Saucehope I then saw a female merlin making a hunt. It flushed up a skylark and started chasing. It was a classic “ringing” hunt, with the skylark trying to sing a bit as it gained height, but not enough to convince the merlin of its vigour, and so a series of climbs and stoops resulted, with the merlin getting closer and closer each time. I lost them half a kilometer away over the airfield as a second merlin joined the chase. I shouldn’t think that skylark got away. 

The wind got up again later in the afternoon, but it was sheltered and relatively mild in Denburn. The last few days of it being only one or two degrees in the morning has not really made things hard for small birds. There were chaffinches and coal tits in a little line along the Denburn having a relaxed bath, and nothing was foraging very hard. There was a constant background sound of goldfinches twittering in partial song as they sat in a big, loose flock in the canopy, taking it easy, waiting to roost.

A chaffinch in the Denburn (WC)

Posted February 14, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

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