November 27th   Leave a comment

It was impressively windy last night in Crail. There were trees down and buildings damaged this morning. The seas were monstrous. I looked out first thing at what I though was an average swell until the first gannet came by, completely dwarfed, to give the proper sense of scale – 5 to ten meter waves. It was interesting looking at the fallen trees – one in my Mum’s neighbour’s garden (now sadly in my Mum’s garden as well…) and then later one in Denburn. In both, there were tit flocks foraging in the branches with a very high rate of feeding. It was if insects or other invertebrates had been dislodged, or been made easier to find. A small silver lining on a very cold day with the continuing, keen north wind.

One of the victims of last night’s storm in Denburn Wood. there is an invisible tit flock feeding amongst the fallen branches

I sea watched for half an hour mid-afternoon at the end of Roome Bay, hunkering down out of the wind. Not many birds passed, but nearly all of them good. The second auk was a black guillemot heading towards Fife Ness. It looked like an immature – not quite clean enough for a wintering adult. We have had a lot of black guillemot sightings this autumn which suggests we have one or two wintering. That said, everything is fairly crazy in the North Sea this winter. To underline this, I had a European storm petrel passing between me and the May Island, heading into the Forth. An unusually late record, but there are occasional November records from the east coast. I watched it carefully for a hint of the slightly less unusual Leach’s Petrel, but even though distant I got no hint of anything other than the fluttery, direct flight of a European storm petrel: not one bank or glide or shearwater. A great bird to add to the Crail year list at this late stage. There were a few little auks heading west in small groups, nine in total, and the same number of razorbills and guillemots. A few gannets, including some juveniles, a red-throated diver, and some kittiwakes made up the rest of the passage. There was also a flock of six female common scoter and a male goldeneye in the more sheltered waters of Roome Bay.

Black guillemot (John Anderson). Obviously my flyby view was nothing like the view John had of this bird, but it shows the mottled, black and white wings and the white head with the black eye line that makes even a distant flying bird very distinctive

Posted November 27, 2021 by wildcrail in Sightings

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