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

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