Looking forward to year ahead

Tom Gray
Tom Gray

With a whole 12 months of optimistic wildlife watching in 2012 ahead of me, may I take the opportunity of wishing readers of this column Happy New Year.

On the verge of a new start, I took the opportunity of looking back to the ‘Naure Notes’ of this time last year when optimistically, in spite of snow and ice, I predicted the appearance of a favourite bird, the Waxwing, on the Fife scene and to my great joy a week later they could be seen along Boblingen Way.

Let’s hope I’ll get a call sometime this week to say they are back in the area – there are berries enough to provide food for them.

Mrs Gray and I spent most of the last fortnight holding the fort at home, awaiting the arrival of younger members of our family and, indeed, it was our youngest son who had counted 10 Common Buzzards on his way driving down from Aberdeen on Hogmanay.

I have yet to get details of the ‘owls’ which he remarked on seeing in the early hours of the morning two days later in the darkness on his way home.

An observant friend reported the unusual presence of a Treecreeper scouring the wooden walls of his garden shed before tackling the underside of his house window sills for hibernating spiders, thus providing him with a new species record for his Rimbleton garden.

He jokingly suggested that the bird should have its name changed to ‘Wallcreeper’, but that name is already bespoke by a much rarer species and not one to be encountered in this area!

There seems to have been an absence of Grey Geese overflying Glenrothes so far this winter, although the same ‘Wallcreeper’ contributor did mention the gaggle of at least 1,000 Greylags that he had encountered on his wanderings in a field on his way from St Andrews just before he entered Anstruther.

However, much more unusual was the unseasonal flowering of a Primrose on Largo Bay dunes, photographed by a fellow naturalist between Christmas and the New Year.

Is it a late flowering of 2011, he asks, or an early appearance for spring 2012?