Thursday, 25 April 2013

Cullaloe coming up on the rails ...

Escaping my notice yesterday was the emergence of Cullaloe as leader in the Hill of Beath (67) versus Cullaloe (68) "battle of the patches" - bantamweight. Visits to both since then produced the long-awaited Linnet for Cullaloe (now 69) and nothing new for Hill of Beath.

Honours on the warbler front coming up might be expected to go to Cullaloe (Blackcap, Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Gropper) whereas a sweep of those would be a very decent result for Hill of Beath - not out of the question though. The first four could be OK, and Gropper certainly breed not very far from there.

To stay in touch it will need to pick up some migrants - might struggle for Sand Martin, at least until autumn when I am more optimistic. Cullaloe, too, could struggle once these summer birds are settled in.

One species I'd love to get for HOB would be Quail - some nicely ploughed fields await, and it still has to pick up GS Woodpecker, which should also be doable. There's quite a strong crossover between the two sites, with the vast majority of the species list shared. The species that aren't shared tell you a bit about the differences between sites:

HOB but not Cullaloe: Whooper Swan, Partridge, Collared Dove, Waxwing (all previously recorded at Cullaloe)

Cullaloe but not HOB: Wigeon, Water Rail, Merlin, Jay, GS Woodpecker, Dipper, Grey Wag

You could guess that Cullaloe's burn is better and more productive (Grey Wag, Dipper), that it has more open water (Wigeon), and that there are more reeds (Water Rail). You'd be right. You might also guess that HOB has more arable fields (Partridge) and more houses (Collared Dove, Waxwing) which would also be true.

Come the autumn, all being well, it should also be apparent that Cullaloe has an advantage in exposed mud, with a handful of wader species to be expected. Hill of Beath will have to make up ground from the skies.

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