November 14th   Leave a comment

After my off patch excursion excitement of Thursday it was back to the relative quietness of a walk around Crail this afternoon. Despite the poor weather, the highlight was a (the) female merlin still in the stubble field next to Pinkerton and behind Sauchope Caravan Park. I picked it up as some starlings and curlews flew up and away from it as it flew low over the field. Starlings should definitely get out of the way, but merlins are no threat to a curlew. But from a curlew’s point of view its not worth taking a chance – and curlews might live tens of years, so they should be cautious. A falcon coming rapidly towards you head on could easily be a peregrine. And male peregrines often adopt a flickering wing (think mistle thrush in flight) action to conceal their approach that merlins also use. The size difference between the two is no good, as Father Ted will tell you: is it large and far way or small and close? So the curlews flew up, only to land immediately with a sheepish air as the merlin passed overhead. The starlings, of course, kept going and the merlin followed them down into Roome Bay. All in all it was a bird of prey walk – there were three separate sparrowhawks and a kestrel also about.

Merlin (JA)

Posted November 14, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

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