Archive for April 2020

April 30th   Leave a comment

There was 1.2 mm of rain last night. Hardly a downpour but enough to bring birds down. I feel I must have missed things this morning, but I tried at Kilminning, the Patch and Denburn. I think there were more willow warblers, common whitethroats and blackcaps in, a couple of new chiffchaffs singing and two fieldfares at the top of Kilminning. Nothing very unusual. Some Fife Ness springs are like this, full of hope but ultimately unrealised promise. But if we are going to have a quiet spring perhaps this is the year to have it. I was cheered up in Denburn by the blackcap song again and my first newly fledged blackbird of the spring.

The young blackbird in Denburn this morning – probably out of the nest for a couple of days (then add 12 as a chick in the nest, 12 being incubated as an egg, and then 4-5 days while the clutch is being laid – so this chick was from a nest started about the 23rd of March, the first day of lockdown…)

Posted April 30, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

April 29th   Leave a comment

The rain is getting closer but still not here, Consequently, there wasn’t much change today. I had my first sedge warbler this morning after a tip off about one singing at the far end of the Kilminning Coast nature reserve. Sure enough, one was churring away and chacking away at me when I got there. Sedge warblers are a sub-Saharan African bird that breed with us every summer. I hardly ever see them now in Africa because they are a Sahelian wintering species where it has been too dangerous to do fieldwork for the last 10 years or so in Nigeria. So nice to see back again. Sedge warblers have bags of character, with their loud angry songs from deep cover interspersed with sudden extrovert song flights where they seem so full of the joy of making it back to Scotland. The whitethroats were also singing a lot this morning; they do the same thing as sedge warblers, with joyful song flights on first arrival back to Scotland. Their song flights seem less of a surprise because whitethroats are much less skulking when initially singing (although whitethroats have their skulking moments too). I think both sedge warblers and whitethroats are conflicted at this time of year. They naturally want to creep surreptitiously through the bushes but they have to strut their stuff if they want a mate.

Sedge warbler (JA)
A common whitethroat at Balcomie this morning – just before launching itself up on a “hey look at me” song flight

Posted April 29, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

April 28th   Leave a comment

I was sat at my computer this morning carrying out one of those video meetings that have become routine over the last few weeks. Meetings are always dull, but I had a first today to brighten up this one. I noticed something peering up at me through a glass door leading to my back garden – a male pheasant in all its glory, less than a meter away. They really are outrageous with their gold leaf plumage, fleshy red wattles and yellow staring eye. I forgot my meeting and instinctively moved a bit closer – which is ridiculous considering how close it was anyway. The pheasant changed its focus and saw me behind the glass and then did that spectacular pheasant rocket ascent – straight up, almost instantaneously back out of the garden. It was all over in a few seconds and back to the meeting before anyone noticed. Number 133 for my garden list – I’ll remember that for a while, I’ve already forgotten what we were talking about at the meeting.

Pheasant (JA) – the first I have seen in my garden thanks to lockdown. They are not uncommon in Crail gardens but come in from the fields and I am right in the centre.

Posted April 28, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

April 27th   Leave a comment

It felt like a day full of potential. We are getting into the two to three week period where lots of migrants can turn up. The wind is back to an easterly and it even looked a bit like we might get a shower this afternoon. Only a couple of drops of rain materialised – we have had only 0.4 mm of rain this month. But every day now when I get to Balcomie and Kilminning, I am very hopeful: sooner or later I will get lucky. Today there were at least ten whimbrels along the shore, a female white wagtail, a few turnstones and redshank and a small flock of sanderling. The winter flock has been absent and these are the first I have seen for a week or so. There was a handsome male wheatear at Fife Ness, and a female on Balcomie Beach. The male probably a British bird and the female perhaps an Icelandic one, looking fairly large and robust. At Kilminning there were even more willow warblers with a couple of them with colder, grey green tones of northern European birds. Back in Crail, there were several blackcaps singing in Denburn and another in the garden behind the Co-op. But with just a little bit of rain…

Male northern wheatear at Fife Ness this afternoon

Posted April 27, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

April 26th   Leave a comment

The scarcer migrants are starting to appear at last, with a lesser whitethroat and common redstart reported from Anstruther this morning. I spent my morning exercise period checking Kilminning, Balcomie and the Patch. There were lots of willow warblers, more common whitethroats and more swallows: barn swallows everywhere, a sand martin and the first three house martins of the year (at last). The three swallow species we have here are easy to identify although I often get asked which is which. When you see a swallow – a small bird flying around constantly, catching insects, gliding and swooping continuously and not perching much – you need to check three things. The back pattern – does it have a big square white rump: house martin; is it all blackish then barn swallow; is it sandy brown then sand martin. The underside: all white then house martin; dark throat then barn swallow; white throat but brownish breast then sand martin. The third thing to notice is whether it has very long stiff looking wings, which are never bent at the wrist, then it is a swift. Not a swallow but much like them in aerial, insect catching habits. They are also all dark, look like arrowheads and will be back in Crail at the end of next week. They are the ones that scream at dusk over the town. As with any bit of bird identification, it gets easier with practice, but with swallows and swifts, no binoculars are required as all the features you need to see are obvious even at a distance. You can see all 4 species in Crail at any time between May and August, with the swallows being here from April to October, and sand martins being most likely along the coastal path.

Barn swallow – dark throat (JA)
House martin – white rump (JA)
Sand martin – white throat, brown above and breast (JA)
Swift – long, stiff wings, all dark (JA)

Posted April 26, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

April 25th   Leave a comment

Every year about 25 people forward their corn bunting sightings to me so we can monitor the local population, that has been declining and now coming back over the last 30 years. This year I can’t organise or encourage any kind of survey and I can only hope that people on their normal exercise walk will let me know the locations of any singing corn buntings they see or hear. If I then have an idea of the route of the walk as well I can build up a map for this year and adjust the results for the area that has been surveyed – in previous years we aimed to survey the whole area completely so I normally don’t need to bother with this. This means I will be able to compare the same areas this year with that of last year and see how that sample of the population has changed even if we can’t measure the change in the whole population. My morning exercise cycle is now the only way I will be personally able to keep track of corn buntings this summer around Crail, so I took an extended loop to Balcomie this morning to take in Barnsmuir, Troustie, Sypsies and Wormiston. Lots of corn buntings singing and encouragingly often two birds singing in an area that only had one last year. But it will take a lot of once daily walks to fill in the gaps – but it seems there will be plenty of time for these…

Corn bunting (JA)

The bonus of the route was the first yellow wagtail of the year, exactly where you might expect it. The regular arrival field has cabbages in it that are being irrigated so there are some puddles along the muddy track which will make the area still attractive to the returning breeders from last year and any new birds passing that they seem to attract in early May. As I went along the track a male flew up calling, heading over to West Braes. My wife heard one there along the coastal path three days ago so they have been back at least from the 22nd. Last year there were at least 5 nests, and if they breed again this year it will be the 5th year back in the East Neuk. With less than 50 pairs breeding in Scotland now, our little growing Crail population is quite significant. Yellow wagtails shouldn’t be disturbed when breeding, like any bird species, but they are easy to see without any prospect of disturbing them along the coastal path at West Braes and along the Crail to Anstruther Road at Barnsmuir. If you don’t know their flight call – a clear “tseep” – then look out for the bounding wagtail flight and of course the bright yellow. There are also grey wagtails (which are also very yellow) out along the coastal path but few venture out across the open fields.

One of last year’s Crail yellow wagtails (JA)

Posted April 25, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

April 24th   Leave a comment

Over the last two days more swallows, whitethroats, and willow warblers have been coming in with the good weather. There were nine whimbrels yesterday at Balcomie and six today: I can’t tell if these are the same birds here since last week or a steady turnover, but I think the former. A grey plover yesterday on Balcomie Beach was an obvious new bird though. And the white wagtails have gone again, so they are turning over. My best bird today was a jay flying out of Kilminning. Although a common bird elsewhere, they are rare in the East Neuk, with my nearest reliable site being the woods at the Secret Bunker and close to Fairmont. I have seen twenty times as many yellow-browed warblers around Crail than I have jays over the years. Beautiful and interesting and rare that Jays are, I think I still prefer yellow-browed warblers.

Jay – a major Crail rarity (JA)

The shelduck soap is hotting up at Balcomie. This morning there were five birds scrapping. A spare male had joined the two pairs and I don’t think any of them were very happy. One possibility is that the male has a female already on eggs and is straying in search of further opportunities, or it is a young bird looking for a last minute mate.

Five shelducks at Balcomie this morning

Posted April 24, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

April 22nd   2 comments

The easterly winds are tantalising but not really delivering anything so far. A handful more common whitethroats, a whimbrel, two white wagtails, and a common snipe in the farm pond between Troustie and Sypsies. I think there were more swallows in today with a couple of birds now singing over the High Street. House martins are now conspicuous by their absence. There were a couple reported last week in Fife, but no sign of any in the East Neuk so far. Each migrant species has their own individual timetable, with variation arising because of different wintering areas, different routes and then different weather experienced along the way. So nothing to worry about – every year has a different pattern of arrivals. This year, after an early start, arrivals seem to be slowing down.

Common snipe – a single bird at the edge of a farm pond at this time of year is very likely to be a migrant. Even though we have resident snipe, many are migrants and some of these may have wintered in Africa (JA)

Posted April 22, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

April 21st   Leave a comment

Magpies are one of those birds – like gulls and pigeons – that provoke mixed feelings in people. They get a bad press because they are clever opportunists and they have been persecuted for it. But they are also very beautiful and full of character. Magpies were very scarce around Crail when I first moved here. In recent years they have been left alone and now we have about ten to fifteen pairs within about a two kilometer radius. They are still very shy of people though. There is a pair at both the top and bottom of Kilminning that I see every day, as they bicker with the local carrion crows and buzzards. They are just at the stage of laying eggs, with the male and female staying close together and close to where they are nesting. Once the female has laid its eggs and starts incubating then the male is free to cause havoc on the other nesting birds around them. I was once keeping tabs on blackbird nests as part of some research on competition between territorial birds: I left the study area in South Queensferry on Friday with a warm glow having found over 45 nests with females sitting on eggs. But on Monday there were less than 20 nests remaining still with eggs. The local magpie pair had finished laying up on the Friday and the male spent the weekend doing what I had been doing the week before – searching out every blackbird nest in the vicinity. I changed my study to one on nest predation…It’s a blackbird’s lot unfortunately to lose nest after nest to crows like magpies, and they just keep on nesting to compensate. Magpies may cause a lot of trouble to song birds but the world would be a much duller place without them, their glossy blue-black plumage shining in the spring sunshine, their absurd half flapping, half falling flight, and their evil rattle.

Magpie (JA)
And one today at Kilminning showing their half flapping, half falling flight

Posted April 21, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

April 20th   Leave a comment

The easterly winds will be with us until the end of the week, and this next week is usually a good one for early migrants. Still no rain forecast though which is the essential magic ingredient for something unusual. This morning there were seven whimbrels along the shore from Balcomie to Fife Ness, more willow warblers at Kilminning and then another migrant “w” – my first common whitethroat of the year in the “Pinkerton triangle”. This bit of neglected brambles and grass – that hopefully will pass back into Crail community ownership at the end of the current asset transfer application – is at the top of the cliffs at the east end of Roome Bay, along the footpath to Sauchope. Every year it has breeding common whitethroat, stonechat and reed buntings of note, and it is a popular hangout for tree sparrows. But with a bit of work and a few more low, bird friendly shrubs we should be able to add a few more breeding birds. As I had just cycled through Sauchope caravan park I was struck by the contrast “nature not neatness” – next time you are walking through there, see what I mean. We need less amenity grassland that wastes energy, money, time and fossil fuels, and more natural spaces. For whitethroats.

Common whitethroat – there was one back from Africa this morning to spend the summer in one of the remaining wild cracks between the neatness of Crail (JA)

Posted April 20, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

April 19th   Leave a comment

I had a snow bunting at the end of Balcomie Beach again this morning. A third in exactly the same place – and the same plumage, a first winter female (I think) – as the last two (April 2nd and March 15th). So probably not migrants, but one wintering resident. They have tricky plumages, but I think this is a Scandinavian bird, and so it will be on its way back in two to four weeks depending on how far north it breeds. Spring at the Arctic circle doesn’t happen until the end of May, and it’s a two day flight away, so there is no hurry for this bird. Once again, I only got onto this bird because it was calling, and it was on the low tide rocks before flying off over the golf course.

Balcomie’s “resident” snow bunting this morning

There are a pair of peregrines about at the moment. I am seeing them often, mostly at Fife Ness, but also over Crail. The pair were soaring over the centre of Crail at lunchtime today and interacting as if they are breeding, or thinking about breeding nearby. The female is a young bird, showing a brownish tinge to its back, and streaks on its breast. The male is a full adult. Most birds of prey take a while to establish a pair and start breeding so our peregrines may be just going through the motions this year. Where they might breed is a good question. They like high cliffs or tall buildings which are not exactly common in the East Neuk. It’s worth looking out for them over your garden: peregrines are a big, chunky falcon, looking muscular and relatively short-tailed. A kestrel – the only other falcon around Crail at the moment – looks delicate and long-tailed.

Two photos of the same bird – the one year old female peregrine that is around Crail every day (JA)

Posted April 19, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

April 18th   Leave a comment

The winds have been easterly for the last couple of days, although it is a swirling easterly from the high pressure, rather than a nice steady long-range easterly bringing birds to us from Europe. Still it is better than a south westerly because something could turn up and it also pushes the seabirds right into the shore as they pass Crail and Fife Ness. Without any rain I wasn’t expecting too much new this morning and it was still willow warblers, whimbrels and white wagtails. But the seabirds this weekend have been a consolation. Gannets just meters out from Fife Ness and lots of kittiwakes too. This evening everything was passing Crail close in: gannets, fulmars, kittiwakes, shags, razorbills, guillemots and my first puffins of the year. Puffins have been back on the May for three weeks now but they aren’t visible from Crail in any numbers until they start feeding chicks later in the summer.

Everyone’s favourite – a puffin (JA)

Posted April 18, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

April 17th   Leave a comment

There was a Greenland (or Iceland) northern wheatear on the new asparagus field at Balcomie today. Greenland wheatears are bigger and more colourful than European wheatears. Greenland wheatears have the longest single migration flight of any wheatear, crossing the Atlantic from the UK to get to Greenland. They obviously have to do it in a single flight. Wheatears are superlative. Even though some breed in North America in Canada and Alaska, they all winter in Africa. The Alaskan birds go right across Asia to get there (tens of thousands of miles…) and the Canadian ones cross the Atlantic, via Greenland and Europe. The wheatear today may have been in Mali only 12 days ago enjoying temperatures of 45 degrees at the edge of the Sahara, and in another 12 days may be enjoying the snow melting on the Arctic tundra. A truly great, globe trotting bird. There were other migrants today, but strangely mostly the letter W – the wheatear, then whimbrels and white wagtails at Balcomie, and then willow warblers at Kilminning. I must have missed the whinchat.

A young male Greenland or Iceland wheatear heading back to where it was born last year after a winter in the Sahel

Posted April 17, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

April 16th   Leave a comment

There has been some talk about wildlife taking over in response to the lockdown. Perhaps. Disturbance is a big thing in ecology and many places and habitats are unsuitable for lots of species just because there are people there, or the noise they make. A person out for a walk, even with a well-mannered dog, probably presents no real threat to any wildlife, but how is wildlife to know this the case? And even if the response is just to stay out of the person’s way for a bit, if there are lots of people out – crossing Balcomie Beach every few minutes for example – then that area becomes more or less permanently unavailable. So, there is almost certainly a lockdown windfall for wildlife. But I wonder whether we would notice any real change in just a few weeks. Having said that, I will now tell my wildlife takeover anecdote… Last night a hedgehog scurried across the High Street (probably hadn’t been queuing for the co-op) and into my front garden. The first hedgehog ever in my garden. I know there are hedgehogs around Crail but like badgers, and indeed otters, they only are obvious as roadkill. Hedgehogs in particular are very susceptible to being run over and a fairly extensive and sound national survey in 2016 estimated 10-20% of the annual population of hedgehogs is killed on the roads – that’s several hundred thousands of hedgehogs each year. Road traffic is down by more than 70% at the moment, which over 6 weeks means with a back of the envelope calculation, more than 14,000 extra hedgehogs surviving. Probably more because few deaths occur during their hibernation period in winter, so it might be closer to 30,000. That is a lot of spare hedgehogs, and maybe one of these made it through the mean streets of Crail to my garden in the centre. Anyway we put out some dog kibble and a scrambled egg for it, which the dog, at least, enjoyed this morning. No sign of it today and I hope it is wandering somewhere safely, hoovering up slugs as it goes.

The hedgehog in my front garden last night – sheltering from the attention under the hedge.

Posted April 16, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

April 15th   Leave a comment

The good dry weather continues – we haven’t had any rain of note for 4 weeks now. The wind is swirling around a bit, but predominantly south-west. The rate of arrival of summer migrants has slowed, with little new in over the last couple of days. But I did have a tree pipit at upper Kilminning this morning – it may be the first I have had in Crail in the spring. They are usually an August species. Tree pipits are very like meadow pipits except in their call – a buzzing “tzeep” rather than the thin “tsip-tsip” of a meadow pipit. Luckily tree pipits call a lot when flying so they are usually easy to pick up. The last tree pipits I saw were in January, in Liberia, and then lots in Nigeria in November. I see many more on the wintering grounds than in Crail – even though they breed in the west of Scotland and the Highlands, it is a good year for Crail if I see (or more likely hear) more than a handful. On one memorable evening in central Nigeria last November I watched hundreds of tree pipits coming in to a communal roost in a bit of scrubby woodland. They are common birds in farmland and degraded woodland – sometimes the more burnt and chopped the better – all over sub-Saharan Africa in winter. Like the swallows last week, today’s tree pipit connects me with warmer days and more exotic places.

Tree pipit in Scotland (JA)
Tree pipit in Liberia
And in the same tree as the tree pipit above…familiar but then not quite. An African cuckoo – very much like a common cuckoo we might expect through Crail in a couple of weeks, but the less-migratory form that only migrates in Africa south of the Sahara.

There were some lingering winter migrants this morning. A pair of greylag geese at Balcomie, and a fieldfare at Kilminning. There have been a few flocks of greylag geese over Crail in the last few days. Greylag geese make a grumpy honking just like the archetypal farmyard goose that everyone knows, if not directly, from any period TV countryside drama. If you get a close view, their orange bills and a very pale forewing also make them easy to identify.

Greylag geese (JA)

Posted April 15, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

April 13th   Leave a comment

I changed my route this morning to take in the farms to the west of Crail in the hope of finding a yellow wagtail back. None yet, although there were plenty of pied wagtails and a few corn buntings around Barnsmuir. The sea at West Braes was much more interesting. There was a steady passage of sandwich terns going east, with some stopping to fish in the bay of the harbour. And a few red-throated divers, looking uncharacteristically dark and patchy as they were coming into their summer plumage. At one point there was a commotion with redshanks and purple sandpipers flying off along the shore as first a male sparrowhawk dashed along the coastal path, and then a female sparrowhawk along the shore. Both as if synchronised, and with a plan to drive birds in front of the other. A coincidence I am sure but if birds of prey every really could cooperate when hunting, well, they would be as successful as humans.

Red-throated diver coming into summer plumage (JA)

Posted April 13, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

April 12th   Leave a comment

Every morning when I get back into Crail after my exercise circuit to Balcomie and back I stop by my Mum and Dad’s garden by the school to check how they are: they are completely self-isolating at the moment like a lot of others. Our meetings are necessarily in the garden which as the weather has been getting better is no hardship. This week we have been entertained by the returning swallows, a willow warbler and even a sand martin: it’s a small garden but with a crucial slice of green space and sky, with a couple of small trees and shrubs so there is always something either in it or passing through. There are a couple of nest boxes on the back wall and for the last few days we have been watching a blue tit go in and out while nest building. Although it seems more like DIY. Once inside the box there is an almost continual tap-tapping noise as if the female is putting up shelves rather than weaving a nest. It sounds like there is a tiny woodpecker in there, with the whole nestbox acting like a drum. Blue tit nests can be very large relative to their small size. Most nest boxes are actually too big for a blue tit (on a one size fits all basis – a small bird can nest in a big box, but not vice versa), so they spend a lot of time filling it up with nesting material. The actual cup might be relatively small. Today one of the blue tits was collecting moss from the lawn below the box, tugging out strands to get a beakful and then flying back for another couple of minutes of tapping.

The woodpecker blue tit in my mum’s garden

The summer migrants have been trickling in this weekend. There are now some of the resident swallows back at the airfield and Balcomie. Males with long tails paddling around the buildings and singing scratchily. There have been more sand martins in including some at Roome Bay: hopefully this will be a nesting year with them using the drain pipes in the concrete beach wall again. There are willow warblers and blackcaps singing in Beech Walk Park and Denburn. At Fife Ness I had more sandwich terns past and my first whimbrel of the year. It whistled as it flew over drawing attention to itself as not another curlew. I couldn’t resist whistling back to it. It was looking for company so it circled round for a couple of minutes as we whistled to each other before heading off north again.

An April whimbrel at Fife Ness (JA)

Posted April 12, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

April 10th   Leave a comment

More swallows today; nine in total. And six white wagtails now at the north end of Balcomie Beach. After pontificating a couple of day ago about solo pale birds being a good way to get on to white wagtails there were five males together with a female in a nice flock on the rocky shore strandline. The local pied wagtails weren’t happy and there was a fair bit of chasing. There was no real need for it. They were all feeding well on seaweed flies which were having a mass hatch today, with big clouds of them all along the shore. The swallows were enjoying them too. A seaweed fly emergence must be a joy for a migrant.

Female white wagtail… (WC)
…catching seaweed flies (JA)

Posted April 10, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

April 9th   Leave a comment

Last time my dog ran off I was rewarded for my patience waiting for her to return by seeing a pair of red kites. Today I waited 25 minutes but no reward except my dog returning with that self-satisfied look that only a small terrier can manage after pleasing themselves chasing a wide range of impossible prey over several kilometres. It was my fault for lifting her over a dyke and dropping her more or less on top of a young hare. It legged it off along the wall and then hid about 50 meters away. Nutty (the dog’s name, although also an appropriate adjective) took off after it, spectacularly running right past the hiding place, completely oblivious. And then the hare started off after her! I have no idea what happened, I next saw Nutty a kilometre away still running for Scotland and no sign of the hare. Anyway, I waited and watched the shelducks. The two pairs are still jousting for the bay. And then a sandwich tern fishing – the first of the year. They are spectacular birds with their active and elegant flight, and their big, high dives. My last was in Liberia, like the swallows, where they winter amongst the Atlantic breakers. Despite the easterly wind today I don’t think there were many other new migrants in: a redwing at Kilminning and a couple of barn swallows catching seaweed flies at the top of Balcomie Beach.

Sandwich tern (JA)

Posted April 9, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

March 8th   Leave a comment

Some winter migrants on their way north this morning. A couple of fieldfares at the airfield and two flocks of whooper swans. One flock of nine passed Balcomie and then began gliding down to land on the sea at the burn mouth at Cambo. Again, it was so quiet I could hear their wing noise as they beat them rapidly just as they landed – they must have been over a mile away. The second flock of four turned the corner at Fife Ness and I lost them minutes later far out to sea heading for the Aberdeenshire coast. This afternoon a flock of 150 pink-footed geese flew over Crail calling away, also heading north-east, over Fife Ness and the sea.

Whooper swans heading north (JA)

And some more summer migrants: a willow warbler at Kilminning and one singing in Beech Walk Park, and the first white wagtail of the year in their usual place just beyond the northern end of Balcomie Beach. White wagtails are always a leap of confidence because they are very similar to some female pied wagtails. Today’s bird had a nice black cap contrasting with its pale clean looking grey back, rather than a more gradual black cap shading into a darker grey, dirty looking back. One good character that I realised today is that pied wagtails are all in pairs at the moment. It’s hard to find a female pied wagtail without its very distinctive male by it. A lone pale female “pied” wagtail is always worth a look because it is likely to be a migrant male white wagtail that don’t migrate in pairs.

The white wagtail at Balcomie
The most “white” looking pied wagtail female I saw this morning to show why you need to be careful . I cropped this photo and there is a blurry male pied wagtail just out of shot, showing that this is a local breeder

You will have seen the big full moon last night and this is causing some very high tides this week. Last night a young seal must have swum onto to a rock by the strandline at Fife Ness and then fallen asleep because this morning there it was right up by the hide at Fife Ness, about 50 meters from the sea. It had a job hauling itself over the rocks back to the water after I inadvertently disturbed it.

The temporarily stranded grey seal at Fife Ness – about a meter long so I assume one of last year’s pups

Posted April 8, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings