October 10th   Leave a comment

This morning was again unseasonably warm, with little wind. It was perfect for finding birds: I could hear everything and the only things moving in the trees were birds. But there was nothing there to find once again. I spent an hour in the Patch and the caravans at Fife Ness, had a good look around Craighead, Balcomie Cottages and a quick look in at Lower Kilminning around the bench bushes. Song thrushes, goldcrests, robins, a blackcap, a chiff-chaff. The only summer migrant I saw today was a swallow at Balcomie. On the beach the curlew sandpiper was still around, feeding with dunlins along the low tide line. There was a confiding bar-tailed godwit feeding in stinky pool. Usually they are very shy but this one was desperate to keep feeding, pulling out big ragworms as it waded in the pool. Both the curlew sandpiper and bar-tailed godwit are potentially very long distance migrants – breeding in the high Arctic of Siberia and heading, perhaps, as far as South Africa. The curlew sandpiper is looking fatter and fatter by the day and must be ready by now to head south. There was one more obvious migrant wader. A greenshank on the rocks at Fife Ness.

The bar-tailed godwit at Stinky Pool today (John Anderson)

The best birding of the day was the big flock of gulls in the harvested potato field just outside of Crail and next to Balcomie Caravan Park. Lots of herring and black headed gulls, but amongst them an adult little gull, looking very odd in a muddy field, and a leucistic herring gull. Almost pure white apart from its dark bill, and faint speckles of yellowish indicating an immature. Almost exactly the same plumage as the one we had around Crail last winter, but that bird should be in mostly adult plumage by now – such as that is when the bird is all white anyway. The bill should be more adult like and not all black though. So a different bird and just a coincidence I think.

The leucistic herring gull

Posted October 10, 2021 by wildcrail in Sightings

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