May 23rd   Leave a comment

With the fall yesterday I was put in a bluethroat frame of mind this morning. If there is a bluethroat around Crail, it is probably around now. They are fantastic birds to look at in the spring, but bluethroats have become increasingly scarce both at Fife Ness and the May Island in the last 30 years. They are also often skulkers, liking thick vegetation alongside damp ditches. So a bit of a long shot. My best bet always seems to be the yellow house at Wormiston – ditches, rank grass and dense bushes, but also a nice lawn and a couple of ponds for an extrovert bluethroat. The house is a good migrant spot anyway. But not today. I did at least pick up a nearby corn bunting that I hadn’t heard singing since the beginning of April. Elsewhere there didn’t seem to be any new migrants: willow warblers in the patch, and a spotted flycatcher or two at Kilminning. I didn’t have the patience to track down the icterine warbler(s) today, that was seen and heard singing again at least until lunchtime. Today I paid attention to one of my favourites – the spotted flycatchers that had got eclipsed yesterday.

Spotted flycatcher and a St Marks fly spotted below at Kilminning yesterday (JA)

The high Arctic waders are coming through Balcomie now. There was a flock of bright orange, black and white turnstones and a nearly full summer plumage bar-tailed godwit on the rocks to the north of the beach. And to really lift the spirit, four females eiders swam in from a choppy sea herding a flotilla of 22 newly hatched ducklings, after their swim over from the May Island – the first eider chicks of the season for Crail.

Bar-tailed godwit (JA)
The first eider chicks in at Fife Ness at about 11 this morning. I was sat next to John when he took this photo. At the time I estimated 22-24 chicks – I think you can count 25 in the photo. We wished them well. They may have survived the crossing but now they need to avoid the gulls, hence their close guard of the adult females. (JA)

Posted May 23, 2021 by wildcrail in Sightings

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