October 2nd   Leave a comment

This week has remained frustratingly devoid of rarer migrants, and as September has passed into October, it is fair to say that this autumn, apart from the seabirds and shorebirds, has not turned out well so far. So it goes sometimes. Birders suffer from the same syndrome as farmers and always benchmark things to the best year they have had, so inevitably as the years go on, each season is a relative disappointment. It’s a way of thinking that has to be actively fought against because going out birding around Crail always means some good birds. Take today for example. Although checking the Patch and Kilminning this morning only turned up a chiffchaff in the former and four bramblings and a redwing in the latter, bramblings are always nice to see, especially chewing away at whitebeam berries and scrapping with the local chaffinches, and the redwing was the first of the winter. A whimbrel and a northern wheatear at Balcomie were another two good birds for the day. And the juvenile curlew sandpiper was also still in residence to perk things up. It was showing well again in Stinky Pool. It was pulling out thread like worms fairly frequently: it makes me wonder why nothing else ever turns up at Stinky Pool. Perhaps it is just too disturbed, this curlew sandpiper is notable for its tameness for example – Stinky Pool was a great site for waders thirty years ago when there were certainly fewer golfers and coastal walkers.

The curlew sandpiper in residence at Stinky Pool – its 14th day

But the saving grace of today was the sea watching. Fairly slow, but perfect visibility and a lively wind pushing gannets, kittiwakes and razorbills past at a high rate. Always something to look at and to look for. I watched from Fife Ness in the morning and from my house in Crail at other times. There was a reasonable set of seabirds during the day: sooty and manx shearwaters, arctic and a pomarine skua, lots of little gulls, a handful of sandwich terns, common and velvet scoters and a slow and steady passage of red-throated divers into the Forth (they must be heading further south but hugging the coast as they go, otherwise the Forth further west must have ten thousand of them already). On a good south-easterly wind like today there is always a hope of good seabirds and rarities. You just have to keep looking and get lucky.

Plenty of great gannet and wave action today during sea watches (John Anderson)

Posted October 2, 2021 by wildcrail in Sightings

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