Thursday, 13 December 2012


On Tuesday morning I hopped on the train for the short 10 minute journey to Morecambe. I was heading to the newspaper offices to catch up with some old colleagues and also meeting my mate Shaun Coyle, who had just returned from yet another month-long sub-Saharan birding trek.
Of course the first thing I did was take a walk along the Stone Jetty and peer out across Morecambe Bay to the Lakeland hills. Although it was bright and frosty, a low haze hung over the horizon rendering the snow-topped mountains all but invisible.

The tide was just starting to drop and a few waders were rousing from their roosts and gathering along the exposed shore and rocks. Lots of oystercatchers were loudly announcing their presence and flying around in loose groups while ruddy turnstones were assembling on the jetty end. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any purple sandpipers amongst them.

Offshore a couple of local fishing boats were attracting large numbers of gulls, mostly herring and black-headed - I scanned through the feeding mass hoping to spot the tell-tale white wing flashes of a Mediterranean gull but there were none present. When I covered this area on a daily basis Med gulls were a regular feature most winters, with one individual returning for many years.

I couldn't pick up any notable birds out on the flat calm water with my bins apart from a couple of great-crested grebes.
A solitary grey heron was with the redshank, oystercatchers, curlew and a lone dunlin on the 'Bubbles' groyne.
Yet more waders were busily feeding on the receding tide edge and as I looked through the medley of shorebirds I heard the chattering of black-tailed godwits. Looking up, a small flock of approximately 30 flew in and dropped onto the beach.
Not a bad way to start any day! 

Black-tailed godwits, oystercatchers & redshank

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