June 10th   Leave a comment

We seem to have moved into the rainy season. I was rained off this morning and didn’t get out until later. I had an interesting flyby at Kilminning. An adult male peregrine flew down and passed me at a few meters as if it was checking me out. As it passed the reason became clear – it was jingling like a sleigh and had bells and jesses on its legs. A falconry bird. I spent the rest of the time at Kilminning looking for a falconer to remonstrate, but I think this peregrine left its captor somewhere else. I wish it luck. Peregrines are nothing without the freedom to roam over Fife in an afternoon.

A wild peregrine (JA)

There are a few eider chicks in Roome Bay, and the number is getting smaller. I saw the main reason this afternoon. A great black-backed gull hovering heavily over a pack of angry female eiders, with two chicks cowering and diving in their centre. The eiders were so densely together they were almost clambering over each other to get high enough to peck at the gull. It only lasted a few seconds but more and more female eiders converged and the gull flew off to a nearby rock. The eiders then dispersed, back to their feeding leaving just two females with the chicks. A great group defence. I suspect that eiders lose track of their own chicks in creches, and so helping any nearby chicks pays off eventually. Still the great black-backed gulls are formidable predators, and capable of taking an adult eider if they really try.

Immediately afterwards – the great black-backed gull has just retreated and the eiders are dispersing. Gull 0 Eiders 1.

Posted June 10, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

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