November 25th   Leave a comment

A perfect winter’s day today: clear, sunny and enough wind to make the sea interesting without spoiling the birding. I passed a corn bunting singing on the usual fence post just on the right hand side of the road a hundred meters out of Crail as you head to Fife Ness. It was a lovely day, although spring is a long way off. I am looking forward to colour ringing corn buntings when the spring does come and lockdown eases – I bet this is the same bird that bred here this summer, but next year I will know for sure (with just a bit of luck catching it). I then passed a group of roe deer in the stubble of the airfield. It reminded me of the African savanna, but perhaps you had to be there.

Corn bunting singing this morning at the airfield
Crailengetti

It was high tide at Balcomie Beach and I found about 40 purple sandpipers just north of the main beach. The purps were moving from the rocks onto the sandy bits of beach between them, feeding like the redshanks they were with. All waders are very flexible, but it always seems odd when purple sandpipers desert their wave bound rocks. There were, unusually, six female common scoters in the bay, and I had a great northern diver flying south in the background. It was an obvious great northern with its bulky head and bill and big feet. Today I noticed that its bill kept flashing white, glinting in the sun, as it turned its head. It’s been 20 years since I have seen any white-billed divers, but their bills stay pale as they fly by rather than occasionally flashing white. At Fife Ness there were a few guillemots on the sea but no gannets, fulmars or kittiwakes at all. Winter quiet. Except for a big flock of large gulls very far out milling over the surface, so far out I wouldn’t have been able to see the whale if that was the reason for the melee. As I returned, passing the driving range, I waited patiently in a passing place for a golfer to go by. Virtue has its rewards. I heard a Lapland bunting calling as it flew up from the driving range and watched it pass over my head heading towards the Danes Dyke area of the golf course. It’s good to know there is one around.

The crowd funding for the new Kilminning community nature reserve has gone well and we have over £8000 now. Thank you. We are also crowd funding for a small bit of connecting habitat at Pinkerton. Please donate just £10 at https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/pinkerton-triangle-crail-1/backers#start . When we get £1000 from 30 supporters (and we are up to £800 and 19 supporters), we have a promise of £1500 from M&S Energy; and if we raise another £1500 after that, they have also promised another £1500 to match it. So it’s a good investment of £10. The whitethroats, stonechats, reed buntings and meadow pipits will be grateful.

A meadow pipit breeding in the Pinkerton Triangle (between Roome Bay and Sauchope Caravan Park), the wildlife site we are crowd funding for at the moment

Posted November 25, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

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