May 8th   2 comments

The little egret had gone from Fife Ness first thing this morning: the last one was only here for a few hours as well. Everything else was much as yesterday – three dunlins at the top of the beach enjoying the big emergence of big black flies this morning, and also a few whimbrel. There was a spotted flycatcher at the top of Kilminning. They are a late spring passage migrant through Crail, with occasional pairs breeding at Cambo and Kenly: forty years ago they bred everywhere in the east. Perhaps the most surprising bird today was a wheatear flying over my Mum’s garden from the rooftops of the Co-op to the primary school. Wheatears do turn up in Crail gardens – after all it’s not far to the beach or fields anywhere in Crail. But I have only ever had one turn up in my garden a couple of times.

One of the summer plumaged Dunlin with a seaweed fly maggot at Balcomie (JA)
Spotted flycatcher (JA)

And speaking of garden birds. What can you do to increase your bird list during lockdown? Well, as I was passing the end of Sauchope yesterday I realised that I had a line of sight to the distant top of my roof. So this means that technically, if I was on my roof then I should be able to see a field corner that has corn buntings and stonechats. I need both of these for my garden list. Now stonechats are a long shot – small and they stay low. But corn buntings are bigger, obviously dumpy looking at a distance and sing conspicuously from the wires – they should be visible. This afternoon I gave it a try, climbing up the crow steps (surely designed to help rooftop access for birdwatching) and balancing precariously with my telescope. The view is amazing – 180 degrees of sea, red tiled rooftops and the whole of the south of Crail below. And fields visible on both sides, although there was a bit of heat haze. I watched the wires at Sauchope for twenty minutes before a just about identifiable corn bunting popped up. A bit technical but a corn bunting visible from my garden so it counts. Number 134 for my garden list. I probably also saw a couple of grey partridges flying up from the field behind West Braes, but it was too brief a glimpse to be sure. Next time.

How to see a corn bunting if you live in central Crail…
The corn bunting that sings by the side of the airfield road just outside of Crail (taken this morning). Not the bird I saw from my garden, but only two territories away.

Posted May 8, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

2 responses to “May 8th

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  1. That gave us a good laugh – nothing like bending your own rules! (at risk of life and limb)

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