March 5th   Leave a comment

The last few days have been sunny and spring like at last, with today’s beautiful weather emphasizing just how mild the winter has been. The run of storms over the last few weeks couldn’t hide the fact that we are living through one of the warmest winters ever recorded. Everything is getting ahead. The blue tits, for example, are prospecting and building nests – three weeks in advance. One of my colleagues who studies their nest building each year is tearing her hair out as suddenly she has no time. This evening a blackbird was singing into the gloaming as if it was already nesting. And the gulls are back on their rooftops in Crail, although it will be a while before they lay any eggs. I expect frog spawn any day now in my garden pond. There were several suspicious splashes as I walked past this afternoon. I should think the males have to make sure they get to the ponds earlier than the females so they don’t miss any opportunities. The pond water temperature is still very cold at the moment and I can’t think the males are enjoying diving down into it to stay out of my way: basking in the sunshine on the side of the pond beforehand must have been nice though.

Even though nothing is changing I can’t stay away from Balcomie. Sooner or later something will. I half expected a black redstart this afternoon with a touch of easterly wind. There were pink-footed geese flocks going over at least, and a group of redshank roosting in an odd place and at the wrong tide stage suggesting they might also be a group of migrants. There was a female sparrowhawk hunting the low tide rocks around Balcomie Beach. I accidentally flushed it from where it was sitting invisibly only a few tens of meters from the sanderling along the tide edge, spoiling its surprise, but probably making a sanderling happy. It flapped off out to sea, cutting the corner to Fife Ness, to find another patch of rocky shore to disappear into for long enough for the birds around it to forget it is there.

Pink footed geese passing over today (JA)
The Balcomie Beach sanderling flock keeping out of the way (JA)

Posted March 5, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

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