May 11th   Leave a comment

In the excitement of yesterday I forgot a couple of things that would have normally been the news of the day. The first was a pair of greylag geese in a spring barley field just east of Caiplie. I cycled down the track to the coastal path watched by the geese, even though I was only thirty meters away. I stopped to take a photo and they carried on feeding, although one bird – I assume the male – kept a watchful eye on me every so often. I wondered if they were Arctic Norway breeding birds. Most greylags pass through Crail mid-April at the same time as the pink-footed geese, on their way to Iceland.

The pair of greylag geese stopping over at Caiplie yesterday

The second was seeing in a short space of time, two pairs of yellow wagtails, and a third male behaving as if it had a female on a nest nearby, in three separate fields along the road at Barnsmuir. So three breeding attempts on the go I think. The most I have found at this time of year so far suggesting the population is still increasing.

One of the five different yellow wagtails I saw at Barnsmuir yesterday that got temporarily forgotten about in the dotterel excitement

Today there were some more migrants through. I went down to lower Kilminning at lunchtime to see a whinchat reported there this morning. I saw the reported male on the usual whinchat fence line next to the golf course, but it was a bit busy there so it moved into the adjacent bean field where it was very difficult to see. As I looked though I realized the field was full of northern wheatears – well I saw five – and they were also hard to see as they fed on the ground among the 25 cm high bean plants. I found a second whinchat – a female – along the south-east corner fence, another favourite chat place. These late birds are likely heading to Scandinavia. Some of my tagged birds from Liberia bred well beyond the Arctic circle and so an early season arrival is not the best plan. And to top it all of I heard another grasshopper warbler. Something has happened this year to make grasshopper warblers much more abundant around Crail. The pair at Fife Ness are possibly even breeding.

The male grasshopper warbler singing at Fife Ness last Sunday – still there today and possibly breeding (JA)

Posted May 11, 2021 by wildcrail in Sightings

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