December 22nd   Leave a comment

More off patch birding this morning with a trip to Elie. There is a very showy male black redstart around the yacht club. We had one on the beach at Crail last Christmas and now it’s Elie’s turn. Black redstarts are either birds of bare rocks and mountains or urban areas. In Germany they are called the house redtail and they are a common city bird throughout Europe. There is a nice mix of bare volcanic rocks, concrete and tarmac down at the yacht club so it looked right at home. It’s quite a tame bird, behaving like a robin and well worth seeing with its striking black, white and bright red plumage.

The Elie black redstart (JA)

I was back in Crail this afternoon. I heard a robin singing half an hour before sunset by the harbour. An optimistic and confident bird, with enough energy gained today to spare. Tonight will be cold, with a frost, and more or less the longest of the year, with sixteen hours of dark when the robin won’t be able to feed. Birds keep warm by their metabolism and as long as they have stored energy reserves they will survive. This is why birds tend to sing first thing in the morning as the spring approaches – there is little risk using up your energy at dawn when feeding opportunities become certain. It is another thing to sing the evening before when the temperature of the night and the weather the following day is not known, and so how much energy might be needed is also not known. So this is why I think the Crail harbour robin is a self-assured bird – or possibly it has a territory containing a nice, reliable bird feeder. It is a straightforward equation. More winter bird feeding (or a milder winter) then more evening robin singing.

And another Christmas chat – a Crail robin (JA)

Posted December 22, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

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