August 30th   Leave a comment

I went to the memorial service of Jim Cobb today at Kingsbarns Kirk. Jim was a local legend for many reasons but for many of us he will be fondly remembered for buying and creating The Patch at Fife Ness. That patch of trees at the end of Crail Golf Club, by the coast guard cottages. You enter by a less than obvious path besides the pink cottage and find yourself in a dense stand of mixed woodland and well developed bushes. A place full of cover and food for the migrants that end up at Fife Ness every spring and autumn. And because of the Patch they stay around for a few days instead of continuing inland, to disappear into Fife. It is a little migrant trap – a good trap though, with both migrants and birdwatchers benefiting. I am grateful to Jim for having the foresight over three decades ago to secure the land and for planting the trees so we can now all benefit forever. I am grateful to Jim for the Arctic, greenish, Blyth’s reed, Radde’s, dusky, reed, marsh and Sardinian warblers that are on my Crail list because of the Patch. I am grateful to Jim for the hope and potential joy I feel every time I go down to Fife Ness on an easterly. At the end of his life Jim frequently complained that things were not as they were – that there were fewer birds, fewer migrants, fewer good autumns. That may be so, but people like Jim mean that there are more birds, more migrants and more good autumns than there might have been.

A common redstart in the Patch – caught by Chris Broome who is continuing Jim Cobb’s ringing tradition at the site. Jim will be missed but the birds that he created habitat and space for are still here

Posted August 30, 2021 by wildcrail in Sightings

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