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

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