December 19th   Leave a comment

I was drawn back out to Kingsbarns again this morning, to the buntings and the gulls, both of which have the possibility of still having something special among them. As I walked down to the coastal path I was greeted by a plaintive bit of skylark song, high up and hurried. I looked up and sure enough there was a merlin powering up after a skylark. This merlin wasn’t giving up and the skylark didn’t do any more singing, concentrating on avoiding the stoops as it dived down to the ground. I lost them both close to the ground in a nearby field. I suspect the merlin got the skylark. It missed by centimetres on the final couple of stoops and I didn’t see the merlin flying away empty footed after the last one. There were the usual buntings around Kingsbarns. I walked up to the stubble fields just to the west of the village as well as to the north and counted about 35 corn buntings and fifty or so yellowhammers, each one carefully checked for a rustic bunting among them. There was also a big flock of fieldfares at Pitmilly. I finished up checking the gulls again on the rocky shore at the north end of Kingsbarns golf course. There were again over 1000 gulls moving between roosting on the shore and the adjacent stubble fields. The glaucous gull had moved on, unsurprisingly. They get attracted into big gull flocks as they move down the coast but never seem to stay long. I searched through the flock for the Mediterranean gulls that I had only glanced at yesterday in favour of the glaucous gull. I finally found a beautiful adult, pure white apart from its black eye mask. There may be as many a four Mediterranean gulls around Kingsbarns at the moment, and certainly two.

Mediterranean gull (JA). One of the winners of climate change – it was a really rare bird around Crail 25 years ago. Now I am surprised if I don’t see a few every year.

Posted December 19, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

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