Feb 7th   Leave a comment

There was some hail and a tiny bit of snow today coming in on the continuing strong easterlies making it look as wintery as it has done in the East Neuk for several years. That said it was a poor showing and it was above freezing all day. The key thing was to stay out of the wind, and this was the theme for the birds today. I walked the loop from Kingsbarns to Kenly by Pitmilly and then back along the coastal path. The ground is saturated and there is a lot of flooding along the tracks and in some field corners. There are still concentrations of buntings, tree sparrows and finches at Hillhead Farm by Kenly Water, all keeping in the lee of the dykes and hedges. The corn buntings – about 30 of them – were mixed in with about 200 skylarks in the field by the salmon bothy. I probably heard a Lapland bunting, but it wasn’t a day for flushing buntings, and even if I had tried, it was hard to hear anything calling in the wind. Further down the coast at Boghall Farm there were big flocks of linnets in with the sheep that have reduced the turnip fields to brown deserts. Again, there may have been twite in amongst them but it wasn’t the day to chase after them. There is still a good sized flock of about 50 yellowhammer along the Drony road closer to Kingsbarns. At Kenly, even the sheltered burn mouth was rough. There was a good roost of redshanks and two greenshanks. They left in a hurry and I searched for the cause. A minute later a sparrowhawk flew up from the grassy bank behind the roost. At sea there were more auks and kittiwakes than usual, as it has been for the last week in the storms. I found a couple of auk and a juvenile kittiwake carcass on the red beach at Boghall: there will be more appearing over the next few days as birds dying in the storm at sea at the moment get washed up.

A young kittiwake passing Fife Ness yesterday morning (JA). First winter birds are much more susceptible to dying, lacking the experience or the body condition to deal with prolonged winter storms.

Posted February 7, 2021 by wildcrail in Sightings

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