May 20th   Leave a comment

I know my Godmother reads this from warmer summer climes in central Canada, so she at least will snigger as I announce the Crail heat wave has arrived – we hit 18 degrees by 10 this morning, although this afternoon the breeze got up and took it down to a more reasonable 15 degrees. We rarely get above 20 degrees ever in Crail because of the sea breeze: my record here is still 28 degrees which had most Crailers gasping (literally). This morning it was completely still and the sea as flat as it ever gets. There was some strange mirage going on at the horizon so it was made up of clouds from far away, perfectly blended in tone with the water so it looked like the sea had got topography at the edge of the world. The gannets weren’t enjoying is as they had to work hard without any wind assistance. Big seabirds don’t make sense in a flat calm which is why albatrosses are not tropical birds. There were plenty of arctic terns and kittiwakes passing Fife Ness and unusually a big flock of 1 year old black-headed gulls heading south, all with adult black hoods but still with their juvenile back patterns. The shorebird numbers on Balcomie Beach are perhaps up to 150 now but it they are hard to count scattered amongst the seaweed piles. Still mostly ringed plover but more sanderling every day.

Ringed plover on Balcomie Beach (JA)

The warmer weather brings out the insects. I watched some solitary wasps on one of the walls of my Mum’s house inspecting the little nooks and crannies for nesting sites this afternoon. An old Crail wall has lots of nesting sites for bees and wasps. One of them was a ruby-tailed wasp (to an entomologist this is like calling a herring gull a sea gull). They are worth looking out for, like some piece of Russian enamel jewellery. They are very distinctive but very small (less than a centimetre).

Ruby-tailed wasp – tiny but beautiful

Posted May 20, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

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