September 18th   Leave a comment

The excellent weekend, but not so great for migrants, weather continues. Cycling along the coastal path in just a t-shirt in the middle of September makes for a pleasant day but migrant wise I only found a northern wheatear in the stubbles at Wormiston, and a whimbrel on Balcomie Beach. Swallows seemed scarce too.

The whimbrel on Balcomie Beach this afternoon – I whistled it back down to the beach after it was flushed by some walkers, but it left again soon after this, grumpy I think because it only found me rather than another whimbrel

Sea watching at Fife Ness and Balcomie produced red-throated divers coming in to the Forth again at a rate of about 20 an hour. Flocks of common and sandwich terns were passing quite frequently too. Waders were hard to find at Balcomie, and it was only a young male peregrine hunting along the beach that produced any, as the small number of dunlins, ringed plover and turnstones hidden among the rocks broke cover and flew out to sea. The peregrine, unusually, instead of heading off after its hunt came back for another two passes through the area over the next fifteen minutes, stooping at starlings and even a pied wagtail flock. Lots of chaos over the golf course ensued but no cigar for the peregrine. It did then eventually fly off towards Crail in search of less spooked prey.

Male peregrine (John Anderson)

Butterflies provided the most unusual sightings today. First a speckled wood butterfly at upper Kilminning. They are now regular in late summer around Crail, but ten years ago they were very rare. And then a painted lady butterfly on the buddleia in my front garden this afternoon. Both butterflies will be migrants. The speckled wood from further west and the painted lady from the southern Europe. So far this summer there have not been many painted ladies, in contrast to huge invasion from early summer onwards in 2019. Last year I had my first painted lady in Crail also just in September (the 17th).

Speckled wood butterfly at Kilminning
Painted Lady butterfly

Posted September 18, 2021 by wildcrail in Sightings

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