April 21st   Leave a comment

The good conditions for migration have continued for the last three days. There was a small stutter with some light rain showers yesterday evening – it didn’t amount to much with only 0.4mm falling to create the monumental month’s total of 1.6mm so far. That is officially very dry. The irrigation ponds around Crail are being emptied by the farmers very fast this month. Migration wise it made no difference, although perhaps there were more blackcaps and willow warblers in Denburn this morning.

There were two good birds reported yesterday from Kilminning before the rain. One was a green woodpecker – I have only had one in 18 years in Crail. They occur further to the west but yesterday’s bird seems likely to have come in from the sea. The second was a nuthatch. They are spreading northwards and are regular breeders over the other side of the Forth, but there are few in Fife. This would have been a new bird for the Crail list for me. But sadly, I was fifteen minutes too late. It left Kilminning and flew west towards Crail before I got there. I spent the next hour in Denburn hoping in vain that the big trees there might have attracted it in. There was a nuthatch in Anstruther this time last year that I didn’t go to see because of lockdown, so they are becoming more common. I suspect we will have another in Crail sometime soon so I won’t grieve this one that got away.

Curlews have been passing over Crail for the last four days. As they migrate, they call – it’s a beautiful call anyway, the mournful “coor-lee”, but drifting down from a beautiful blue sky from a small flock powering their way north, it becomes even more special. A reminder of the freedom that birds have and the scale over which they move during a year. The annual curlew passage is becoming a mid-April highlight for me living in Crail. In a week’s time the whimbrels will be doing the same, except with their own, equally evocative, multi whistle call.

Curlews are on the move over Crail – really high up but their distinctive calls as they pass overhead give them away (JA)

Posted April 21, 2021 by wildcrail in Sightings

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