March 28th   Leave a comment

I’ve been feeling a bit flat birding wise the last few days as another new Crail bird got away from me. Despite being at Fife Ness in the morning of the 25th, an alpine swift turned up sometime in the afternoon. Sadly, it was only reported last thing in the evening. Swifts can be hard to connect with, but even so. An alpine swift is unlikely to pass by Crail again in my lifetime. Alpine swifts are huge swifts with a very strong and fast flight: even without their rarity in Scotland, they are a bird that anyone can appreciate. I associate them with high, remote places in Africa, or Mediterranean cliffs. Last Thursday’s bird will have been “overshooting” on its way back from Africa with strong southerly winds behind it. A detour to Scotland from the south of France by an alpine swift is only a day’s worth of flying. That said, they really should consider doing it more often. Birding should never be about disappointment, but sadly it sometimes is. If you are passionate about your patch and seeing as many birds there as you can then it is inevitable.

Still, there was some birding to be had around Crail this weekend. With the strong winds, there was a steady auk passage, but much lower than last week. Tens rather than hundreds every five minutes, and more guillemots. There were more kittiwakes and gannets as well. I had two drake goosander heading north over Fife Ness on Saturday morning, making it a good spring for them. Wader wise, nothing much new is coming through yet. Still the same 30 sanderling and a few dunlin but today a bar-tailed godwit at Balcomie after an absence of a couple of weeks. There are still lots of twite at Boghall. I counted at least 80 around the sheep fields behind red sands on Friday. And the flocks of corn buntings are still in the remaining stubbles at Kingsbarns, now massively outnumbered by passage flocks of meadow pipits. There were more corn buntings singing this weekend though, with three singing already from Crail airfield.

Bar-tailed godwit (JA)

Posted March 28, 2021 by wildcrail in Sightings

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