February 28th   Leave a comment

The Fife SOC is running an “Alternative Bird Race” this weekend, with the aim to compile a Fife wide list based on everyone birding their local patch. This might have had a little to do with covering a lot of the ground around Crail yesterday, and this morning covering the rest of it. Today it was my regular Wormiston, Balcomie, Fife Ness coastal loop. I picked up another 14 species, mostly easy coastal species – things like gannet, fulmar, razorbill, dunlin, sanderling, stonechat – with a couple of lucky ones for the time of year, shelduck and knot, and one special, a pale-bellied brent goose flying in to Balcomie Beach, and then presumably the same bird later past Sauchope and Crail. It is always good to see a brent goose on the patch, especially a one outside the usual two or three days when they pass Fife Ness in the autumn. And they are not always reliable then – I haven’t seen them in 7 out of the last 19 years. I finished the weekend on a reasonably creditable 87 species. As usual a few easy ones eluded me – lapwing, golden plover and even kittiwake. I scanned from Fife Ness for 30 minutes but in that time there was only one gannet past let alone a kittiwake. I hope that one or two of my species boost the overall Fife list for the weekend – the crossbill and the twite maybe.

Pale-bellied brent goose (JA)

This afternoon as I was in my back garden, I heard a grey partridge calling from my neighbour’s garden. The first call I thought was a misheard gull, but it kept going, louder and louder, like a male setting up a territory. But in a normal, small, lawn and flower bed garden, right in the middle of Crail. I have only very recently added grey partridge to my garden list, having heard one from my front garden last year, in the midst of lockdown on a very quiet, traffic free evening, probably from the fields by West Braes. I could barely hear it then, it almost felt like I was imagining it. Not today – a grey partridge in full raspy call, a few meters away, is impossible not to notice. We do have a bumper density of grey partridges around Crail this year I think, so breeding territories may be hotly contested. Nevertheless, one trying its luck in a suburban garden is a pretty radical solution for a bird tied to open fields.

Grey partridge – fairly unusual in Crail gardens, although those on the fringes next to fields like John Andersons get them wandering in now and then. A grey partridge setting up a territory in one though, is very unusual (JA)

Posted February 28, 2021 by wildcrail in Sightings

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