June 27th   Leave a comment

Today it was either haar or shower dodging, with a strong south-easterly breeze again. At Balcomie Beach there were three bar-tailed godwits, showing nice variation in plumage, size and bill length. There were two females and a male, all in full summer plumage. Males are a lovely brick red underneath, and females are buffy, but I could also see that the females were much bigger than the male with longer legs and much longer bills. Females have ridiculously long bills, as long as curlews but looking longer because they are almost straight (they actually have a very subtle upcurve). Sword-billed godwit would be a good name. These godwits may have been in Siberia the day before yesterday. Bar-tailed godwits are a high Arctic breeding species and these will be adults that probably lost their nests in the last week. They should be hatching now after starting to nest at the start of June, and it is already too late in the short Arctic season for them to renest. Godwits look after themselves and live a long time: one failed season is not a disaster.

The three bar-tailed godwits – male in the centre

I expect different waders passing through now for the next three months. There were seven redshanks and a ringed plover on the shore with a whimbrel passing Fife Ness. At Kilminning I saw another cuckoo in the lower section. Perhaps a different bird to yesterday. This one tantalisingly perched where I could see it, but even my slight movement fifty meters away sent it off towards Crail. I followed it and made it back before the thunderstorms got going again.

Redshank – adults back at Balcomie now may even be successful breeders because they can start nesting in April (JA)

Posted June 27, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

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