May 12th   Leave a comment

The cold weather continues. It was up to 5 degrees this morning and with lighter winds so compared to yesterday it was much warmer. But still cold enough to supress singing and activity this morning like yesterday. It has become busier on Balcomie Beach though. Four northern wheatears, three whimbrels and a big mixed flock of ringed plover, dunlin and sanderling, on their way to the Arctic. The increase in ringed plovers is always noticeable mid-May at Balcomie: the resident couple of pairs suddenly become 20-40 birds for a week or two. Although ringed plovers breed in Scotland, many breed much further north in places like the far north of Greenland where they will be side by side with sanderling, knot and turnstone that are extreme Arctic breeders. Ringed plovers, whether our residents breeding at the top of the beaches at Sauchope and Balcomie, or the migrants that may shuttle between Southern Africa and Greenland, are well worth a closer look. All plovers have a really nice look to them, but ringed plovers particularly with their banded head pattern and button eyes. But there is something endearingly grumpy about them too.

A mid-May flock of migratory ringed plovers at Balcomie (JA)
And one of the migrant northern wheatears at Balcomie, photographed by John flying in from the sea two day ago (JA)

Posted May 12, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

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