NATURE NOTES: Tale of an unwanted guest...

Following on my recent report in this column of two Red Kites sighted at the west end of Glenrothes, I have received an e-mail with photographs from Andrew M. of Kinglassie to show that these are not the only raptors frequenting the Goatmilk locality, as it seems that there has been a Short-eared Owl quartering that area since mid-January.

Short-eared owls have been an increasingly uncommon sight around Fife in recent years, but probably this day-flying owl has been able to sustain itself by feeding on the population of Wood Mice and Field Voles surviving in the rough of nearby Glenrothes Golf Course. Further sightings of this bird in the Newcastle and Goatmilk areas will be welcomed and acknowledged.

I put out my dustbins in the last few days only to find that my front garden had been taken over by a very confident, young Carrion Crow which seemed quite unalarmed by my near presence.

Indeed after having had a good look at me it flew up to perch on the nearest windowsill.

Later in the day when I sat down in full view at my work table by the front window, to my utter amazement the corvid flew over to settle immediately in front of me as if seeking my company.

It obviously had no fear of me, nor I of him, so I risked opening the window slightly to offer a few bits of bread.

He pecked at them in my hand before allowing them to fall, showing no further interest when they lay on the sill.

I got the impression that this crow was already familiar with human companionship (habituated is a more technical term!).

Perhaps some previous owner had left the bird unannounced there in my garden for me as a gift in the hope that I’d adopt it, not a kind thing to do for either the bird or me, indeed.

After a wet night the bird had flown, and was gone by the morning.

I hope it finds a home amongst its own kind in Riverside Park.

And on a personal note, thanks to Barry for the e-mailed photo of Goldeneye ducklings emerging from their nest hole in a tree near Aviemore.

Tom Gray writes in the Glenrothes Gazette