May 19th   Leave a comment

The arctic terns have begun their early summer residency down at Balcomie. There were about 40 on the rocks yesterday and 25 today. They gather for a week or two before getting down to nesting on the May Island. There is a lot of courtship feeding that goes on. The terns are all pumped up to breed and any carrion crow or great black-backed gull that came near would get mobbed and dive bombed.

Four of the arctic terns at Balcomie this afternoon, off to harass a gull

And coming from the May rather than heading to it, the first eider chicks of the year. Two with two females just off Balcomie Beach. I should think that a lot of the flotilla of chicks that set off from the island didn’t make it across to Fife Ness. It has been windy and the sea a bit choppy. These two should be alright now with a couple of females to look after them and a sheltered beach covered in rotting seaweed and its attendant maggots and flies to feed up on. The same is also doing the shorebirds well this week: there were over 120 today, mostly ringed plover, then sanderling with 20 or so dunlin. More than 10 whimbrels, 30 or so turnstones and a couple of wheatears were keeping them company.

And further along the beach, the first two eider chicks of the year

Posted May 19, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

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