October 3rd   Leave a comment

When you are a local patch birder, leaving your patch in October is very foolish. Yet here I am heading down to England for a couple of days. Previous similar trips away have led to me missing a red-flanked bluetail in Denburn, for example. Spectacularly it was found literally as I left Crail heading for the station, and then it stayed in the wood until I returned, but after dark, two days later. The wood was empty the following morning. Consequently, I checked Denburn Wood superstitiously and very carefully this morning before I left, even though the winds barely suggested anything had come in. Other birds have turned up like this bluetail but then they stayed long enough for me to connect with them when I came back – the eastern olivaceous warbler, a pied wheatear, a Radde’s warbler. But even though it all worked out in the end, all the time I was away, there was the worry about missing them. This is all foolish, particularly if you are not a birder, or bothered about a local patch, or take the long term view that anything missed is then even more special when you see it next time it appears. But if rationalizing anxieties like this actually made them go away then humans would be much happier and much more sensible than they are. So, I sit on the train hoping that the next bit of Fife Bird News that hits my phone is not that mega rarity – like a pallid harrier – that I cannot go and see until Tuesday. True to form, as I left Crail this morning, my phone binged. I checked it with dread at the station. A northern wheatear. Perfect, so far.

Northern wheatear (John Anderson)

Posted October 3, 2021 by wildcrail in Sightings

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