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

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