Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Bunting Hunting

Snow bunting, Morecambe
For one reason and another, Jenny and I had to go through to Morecambe this morning so I thought I'd make my visit really count.
Once we'd finished doing what needed doing we stopped off briefly by the old lifeboat station on the promenade where a snow bunting has been showing well for a couple of days. It didn't take long to find the bird, and I was soon getting great views of the rather tame individual as it picked through the sand and rocks in search of seeds.

Snow bunting, Morecambe
It was flushed once by a couple on the beach walking dogs but the bunting soon returned to feed just below the railings as people, unaware that a scarce bird was just a few feet away, strolled by.
The morning was gloriously bright and I was able to get a few decent snaps of the smart Arctic visitor.
As we proceeded along the seafront we made a quick stop at Teal Bay to check the high tide wader roost. It was heaving with oystercatchers.

Mixed waders roosting at Teal Bay
Mixed in were a few black-tailed godwit, dunlin, redshank, knot and curlew plus the expected gull species. Paddling around the rocks were a few shelduck and half a dozen pintail; the drake pintails looked simply amazing in the brilliant sunlight.

As it was such a lovely day and I still have a week and a half until I start my new job we decided to go to Arnside and take a stroll up Arnside Knott.

Looking toward Morecambe and the Bay
I haven't been up Arnside Knott for several years (2001?), so I was keen to see what birds I might encounter. Last time I came up here I found a lesser spotted woodpecker in with a winter tit flock, so you never quite know what might turn up.
After a spot of lunch and a fortifying pint of Golden Newt in The Albion we headed for the Knott.
The views over the Kent Estuary and Morecambe Bay were absolutely spectacular.

Looking north from Arnside Knott
Unfortunately the birds were less exciting! It was pretty quiet overall, hardly surprising given the fact that it was early afternoon. 
The highlight was a small flock of dazzling siskins, otherwise it was just common woodland birds such as great tit, blackbird, wren and robin. We also had excellent views of both raven and common buzzards cruising over the slopes.


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