June 12th   Leave a comment

Another grasshopper warbler! Only 6 birds in 19 years up to 2021 and now my sixth bird on the Crail patch in 2021. A grasshopper warbler was singing from the line of small, scrubby trees separating the cattle field and the brassica field just north of Kilminning. It was a keen singer and likely to be another breeding bird – or perhaps the Fife Ness pair relocated? Grasshopper warbler song is the same kind of subliminal noise as a quail at a distance. You hear it, but don’t really notice it. Grasshopper warbler pops into your mind but you have to concentrate to actually then really hear it, rather than imagining it. If you have never heard a grasshopper warbler before, it’s well named. They sound like a grasshopper, reeling away, or an electrical buzz. Not like a bird at all.

Grasshopper warbler

My joy at another grasshopper warbler was tempered as I reached Crail again. I saw a squashed bird on the road. I initially thought it was a young starling but on closer look it was a corn bunting. And right by a usual song perch, by the road, of territory 73. I have been watching this bird singing here since the 25th of April. Sometimes on the pill box closer to Crail, but mostly on the lone bush on the right hand side of the road as you head to Fife Ness, but before the airfield. I confirmed it was the male of the territory that had been killed. It didn’t have a brood patch – a patch of bare feathers that females have when incubating. I was at the airfield last night and recorded the bird in territory 73 singing at 8:30 pm. I saw it squashed at 12:30 pm today, and probably only just so. Such a shame. Many birds get hit by cars – a huge number. It is rarely this personal, but everyone is a tiny, individual tragedy.

The male corn bunting of territory 73. Hit by a car and then run over sometime this morning. A tiny tragedy.

Posted June 12, 2021 by wildcrail in Sightings

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