September 19th   Leave a comment

Pied flycatcher wintering habitat in Liberia. The flycatcher below is in the central tall tree with barely any leaves. Not so different from Kilminning.

Third time lucky with a pied flycatcher today. I connected with one at the top of Kilminning this morning – again it was wasn’t seen by anyone after lunchtime, so another short stayer. I picked it up at the top of an ash tree along the road. My last pied flycatcher this year was in Liberia on January 17th. On top of a tall emergent rain forest tree, forty meters above the ground above a burnt clearing. Structurally identical to Kilminning, if a bit warmer. Being a migrant is all about variations on a theme: different places but the same mix of vegetation. As long as there are insects. The bird today may well be on its way to Liberia. The sense of connection with far off places on the planet when I see a migrant is part of their appeal to me. As is their here today and gone tomorrow nature, but always there to look forward to again next spring. The pied flycatcher was about it for migrants apart from lost more skylarks coming in. I walked across a few stubble fields putting up tens of skylarks in each. I was hoping for a Lapland bunting. It really should be lapland in the stubble rather than a needle in a haystack. Lapland buntings come in on the easterlies with the skylarks in September although they are more likely later in the winter. Fife Ness was beautiful this morning – a slice of Mediterranean blue – but quiet. A few wigeon passing and a string of little gulls, about 40, spread out on the water in the middle distance.

My last pied flycatcher in Liberia
One of the 2-3 pied flycatchers at Kilminning this week – it may well be on its way to Liberia (JA)

I did the full Wormiston, Balcomie loop in the afternoon. Trying some more stubble fields and the yellow house at Wormiston where I’m sure there will have been a flycatcher hiding. It’s a shame you can’t go into the garden. It was high tide when I got to the shore. Lots of mallards and a few teal with the roosting herring and black-headed gulls. On the beach there were about 70 dunlin, some ringed plover, redshank and a juvenile ruff. The first one this year on the ground and close. Balcomie Beach is still busy with people but the waders kept dodging round them, even at high tide. But it made getting close to them a matter of luck. As I cycled back to Crail I saw my first barn swallows of the day. They have been slipping away all week. I think the house martins have done the same.

The ruff on Balcomie Beach this afternoon. You can see their odd shape in these photos, almost rail like in proportions.

Posted September 19, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

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