June 28th   Leave a comment

There are signs of birds finishing breeding everywhere. Many are still going strong, but the early breeders, like starlings, and the failed breeders have finished. I saw a few curlews passing over and feeding inland today, and my first flock of about 10 in a sheep field at Caiplie. These could just about have got a brood of chicks off but are more likely to be back for the winter early after losing them. There was a flock of six lapwing flying up from a field at Barnsmuir – again probably early failures heading to their wintering grounds. The local lapwings are still trying: I have found about ten breeding pairs this year in the 100 square kilometers of farmland we are surveying for corn buntings in the greater East Neuk. At least half of these failed within a couple of weeks and relocated to new fields: these repeat nesting attempts are still in the balance. Another sign of the end of the coming autumn is the increase in sandwich terns along the shore. I have had small groups passing Crail for the last few days. So far, they are all adults, suggesting again failed breeders – it is obvious when the young arrive as they chase the adults with a relentless, never ceasing, high pitched shrieking.  The swifts are feeding chicks now and I see them every day hawking low over the fields, covering hundreds of kilometers a day to accumulate a load of tiny flies to bring back to the nest. The young swifts of last year and the year before that are livening things up for them when they return – chasing the adults and investigating their nests to scope out a good breeding site for next year. I think the sub-adult swifts arrived back last week. Certainly, the amount of chasing and screaming around Crail went up a lot last weekend. It is time to try to attract them to my swift boxes again after this year’s failure to get a pair breeding. I will try some playback this week: with swift boxes you have to just keep trying. Swifts like company and traditional sites so it takes a lot to establish a new breeding colony. Lastly, I caught up with the brood of coots at Cornceres. Most of the chicks seem to have survived and they look a lot more like dull adults, rather than the little bald punks they were.

Young coot at Cornceres – probably just about able to fly now. Quite a change from May 14th

Posted June 28, 2021 by wildcrail in Sightings

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