Saturday, 9 February 2013

There's No Bunting, Like Snow Bunting

With some time on my hands today, I decided to hop into the motor and head off to pastures not-so-distant.
So, I started off with a stop at Conder Pools. The tide was high in the creek and a quick scan revealed a greenshank on the banks. The pools were relatively quiet with just 3 little grebe and the usual scattering of wigeon, teal, tufted duck, mute swan etc. A couple of snipe were visible in the waterside vegetation and at the back of the pools there was a feeding flock of 20 black-tailed godwit.
I then headed along Jeremy Lane where a quick stop to go through the large herd of mute swans only came up with a pair of whooper swans among them - and adult and a juvenile bird.

Whooper swans
As I continued along Moss Lane toward Cockersands I came across another mass of swans.
Pulling over, I could hear the distinctive honking of whooper swans and was soon looking at almost 200 wild swans grazing in the roadside field.
Scanning through, I could see a handful of Bewick's swans among them.

Bewick's swan among whooper swans

After taking a few pics I carried on toward Plover Scar. The tide was pretty much at its peak by now, though it was not an especially high tide so there were some areas of saltmarsh visible.
I walked toward the fishing skeer where a small selection of roosting waders included ringed plover, turnstone, oystercatcher, knot, redshank and curlew.
After a couple of minutes I came across the long-staying snow bunting picking its way through the rocks and marsh.

Snow bunting
This is the first snow bunting that I've seen in the UK for quite a few years - the last I saw anywhere was last May in Canada, where I am pleased to say that they do actually call them snow bunting and not something like 'Frosty longspur'.

On my way back I stopped off at Conder once more. The pools were even quieter now, even the godwits had gone.
In the creek there were the usual numerous teal and mallard, redshank, little egret and other assorted common stuff.

Spotted redshank
A pair of spotted redhank were, erm, spotted and I even managed a digi-scope snap of one as it snoozed on the creek bank and a lone grey plover was in with some lapwing.
From the bridge I scanned through the wigeon, hoping for a yankee interloper but it wasn't to be. A mobile flock of 12 reed bunting were moving from tideline to marsh and everywhere in between. A single rock pipit flew over.

Next stop was good old Aldcliffe. There wasn't a great deal going on to be honest and I struggled to find anything worthy of mention. The 30-40 fieldfare that have been a feature of the last week were still in the area and there were c400 pink-footed geese on the marsh but little else.
A quick check of Freeman's Pools saw the return of the redhead smew and a handful of goldeneye back on the main pool.



news said...

Hi Jon. Glad you enjoyed your run around the area All the best JWB.

Jon Carter said...

Cheers John - we really are lucky to live is such a diverse area! I'm enjoying rediscovering all these great birding sites.