March 31st   Leave a comment

The early spring in terms of migrant birds continues. The wind started of southwest but swung easterly by mid-morning and is now north-easterly. There was enough easterly that the haar blew in at Fife Ness. Just before it did I had my first sandwich tern of the year. No calling, just a single bird flying very fast north, in very business-like migration mode. The first week in April is the usual time for them, and my two previous earliest dates were the 2nd of April.

Sandwich tern (JA)

I also had my first northern wheatears on the beach at the east end of Sauchope (by Kilminning). Three, two males and a female. They flew off into the rocky shore where they disappeared. I suspect I cycled past a few more wheatears today, lost among the rocks of the low tide shore at Balcomie. The wheatears are also my earliest ever – the 1st of April being the earliest in 2018, and most appearing in the second week of April or even much later. As yesterday with me picking up my first chiff-chaffs and them appearing all over Fife on the same day, the pattern is being repeated today with wheatears. There was some other obvious passage today – hundreds of meadow pipits along the rocky shore, a flock of 30 whooper swan over Crail late morning, and a flock of 10 greylag geese, and hundreds of pink-footed geese north over Balcomie. It’s been a good two days after the disappointment of last week, carrying my Crail year list to 119. I did a bit of seawatching from my house at lunchtime (but only close in because of the haar further out) in a bid to see a velvet scoter that often pass on early spring days like these and to take the list up to 120 before the end of March. No year list additions, but three purple sandpipers, obligingly flying above house height into the rocky shore just below my house (the Brandyburn) to add to my garden list, now standing at 139.

One of the three northern wheatears on passage at Sauchope late morning. This is a female which is about 11 months old, the contrasting more rufous feathers on the wing retained from last year’s juvenile plumage.

Posted March 31, 2021 by wildcrail in Sightings

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