June 29th   Leave a comment

In between watching the established male corn buntings sitting on wires, watching their females on nests below, and watching the new territorial males chasing each other, I took a detour to Balcomie Beach. There are three territories visible from the beach so it’s not entirely frivolous. But really I was hoping for some early waders. I was rewarded by a whimbrel, a flock of curlews, a few ringed plover and a couple of dunlin. The dunlin still looked summer plumage shiny. Balcomie Beach has a lot of rotting seaweed on it and there is a lot of food lined up for the more waders that will come over the next two months. July and August is the best time for rarer waders. The house martins were also enjoying the seaweed flies, catching the adults as they laid their eggs on the rotting wrack.

Returning dunlin on Balcomie Beach (JA)

Yesterday I forgot to mention that I heard another grasshopper warbler singing. The fields at Cornceres farm that go down to the sea just east of Kirenny Mill are really good for birds. The farmer leaves the slopes as weedy grass, and there are large wild bird mix plots at the edge of the barley, bean and potato fields there. The grasshopper warbler was singing from a small weedy bush. Although I am more used to them breeding in more scrubby habitat (i.e. like the pair at Fife Ness and at Kilminning this year), they also breed in dry meadows with barely any bushes. With yesterday’s bird I have now had more grasshopper warblers this year around Crail than in the last 20.

One of this year’s Crail Grasshopper warblers (JA)

Posted June 29, 2021 by wildcrail in Sightings

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