June 10th   Leave a comment

Two unusual birds today. I heard a quail calling from a wheat field at Beley Farm, Dunino this morning. My first one of the year, and perhaps not unexpected considering the hours I am spending in quail habitat every day (wheat fields). Quails are not regular on the Crail patch but I have had them now for the last three summers. Before that it was only 2011, but there were several in this “quail year”. If quails have a good breeding season in southern Europe in March and April, then some of these birds move north to breed again resulting in a small invasion into Britain in June. Even in quail years you have to be very lucky to see one. They spend their entire time in dense crop fields and unless a passing raptor or fox flushes one up they are invisible. Luckily, they call night and day when they are breeding – a soft “wet my lips” or “quip whip whip” repeatedly. It is not loud even though far carrying and steals into your brain as if you are imagining it. You have to concentrate to actually notice it. My other unusual bird at Dunino was a crossbill flying over. It could have been a local breeder or an early migrant, dispersing after breeding (crossbills breed very early). I have only had crossbills on the Crail patch list in 7 out of the last 19 years so they are always good birds, although there have been a few around this year already, particularly the flock at Cellardyke in January.

One of the cellardyke crossbills this January (JA)

Posted June 10, 2021 by wildcrail in Sightings

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