November 21st   2 comments

I’ve been out a few times this week but it has been quiet with nothing to really tip me over the edge of writing something. I’m normally in Nigeria during November and I am missing the jolt of African bird excitement, and the reprise of all the summer migrants. There is plenty to see around Crail in November, there is just no real sense of change unless there is a storm. Balcomie Beach has about 40 sanderling, 10 ringed plover and a handful of dunlin in residence now. Sanderlings are real winter birds. Their pale grey and white plumage fits in so well along the surf on a bright winter’s day. No signs of bar-tailed godwits for several weeks now. The rocks have good number of turnstones and purple sandpipers. There are still a few purps at the north end of Balcomie Beach and most days there is a flock of twenty or so at the low tide edge, directly in front of the light at Fife Ness, occasionally with a single knot that seems to also be wintering there. This week there has been a bit of diver passage of all three species, particularly with the northerly winds of the 19th. Mostly red-throated divers as usual. I had a great northern diver lumbering back northwards this morning past Fife Ness.

Sanderling (JA)

At Kilminning there is a party of five bullfinches in the top section, adding a dash of colour to the treetops now most of the berries have gone. There is a flock of 30 fieldfares around the airfield. Otherwise, it mostly tits and goldfinches. Today I noticed two goldeneye back in Roome Bay so some have finally made it here for the winter.

One of the five bullfinches at the top of Kilminning, resident for the last couple of weeks

If you walk through Bow Butts at about 15:45 you will see the Crail starling murmuration. It’s, fair to say, only a mini murmuration and not the spectacle to be seen on the Somerset Levels or autumn watch. But it is local – which is a real plus at the moment – and the 200 starlings occasionally form into a single flock like a giant amoeba and swirl into impressive patterns and loops.

Crail’s lockdown starling murmuration over Bow Butts this week – it might be small but you don’t have to go far to see it

Posted November 21, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

2 responses to “November 21st

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  1. I enjoy your commentary and words of wisdom especially when you are trying to identify birds.

    What lens do you use for your pictures?



    • John Anderson is the decent photographer with an enormous bucket of a lens (several thousand mm) and a decent Canon SLR with a huge resolution CCD screen. My photos are all with a Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ82 that gets up to 60x magnification with a built in lens, but with low res CCD screen, so it’s always a bit grainy. The advantage is that it’s a small, cheap camera and easy to pull out of my shoulder bag and take a record picture without fuss, when needed, and when I drop it into a rock pool I won’t grieve too much.

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