European Bee-eater at Crawford, South Lanarkshire

This species had not been seen in the Clyde area since 1869 making this an extremely exciting species to see. After my previous fail of seeing this European Bee-eater a few days ago, This day absolutely made up for it. This has to be one of my birding highlights of all time!

We arrived at around 09:45hrs and parked up at the side of the road just beyond the bridge at Camps Road. My dad and I walked towards a castle keeping a carful watch out for it landing on the power lines. After a 1min walk towards the castle I looked over at our car and saw the Bee-eater sitting on a wire next to the car! Some others arrived to watch it from the other side. It stayed for a while before flying off into some other trees, then flying off to the trees next to the castle! At this point I was standing on the bridge with Ruth Rowlands (links to her social media at bottom of page) and my dad watching it in the distance.

On Wire Next To Houses and Cars (not visible in picture)
372A5460 European bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)

We headed over the field towards the bird and met some other birders who had beat us to it’s current location at the top of a tree. We all stood in a line and stared it down as it stayed in the tree. Time went past and more people started to show. As it warmed and the sun appeared from behind the grey clouds, the European Bee-eater became more and more active and its habits became clear. It would fly out the tree and catch a bee in mid-flight! It would then fly back to a point in the tree where it would eat the bee! It was so active and tame that it even came 2 meters from us to pick an insect off the grass at our feet! Nobody could believe it when this happened. It was incredible in the way it so carefully picked up an insect until it flew back into the tree.

European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)

We stayed a while longer and the bird clearly became more and more mobile, flying for a while and landing in trees even further away. More people had arrived including some people we knew before and it was great to catch up with them and meet new faces. The bird was most active at around lunch time but I have a feeling that it will be heading off soon.

European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)

I honestly can’t believe how great it was! It was 1pm now so we decided to wrap it up there and head off to sheildhill farm to see what we could find. We found nothing, sadly but it was still an amazing day!

Please check out Ruth Rowlands!

Facebook: Ruth Rowlands Photography

Instagram: ruth_rowlands

Twitter: photoruthie

Author: Michael Sinclair

My name is Michael Sinclair and I’m a young naturalist from Glasgow although I can be seen all over the place doing crazy things.

4 thoughts

  1. Amazing Mike. What an incredible sighting. Thanks for sharing your excitement. What next, I ask? 😁


    Sent from my iPad


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