Tuesday, 19 November 2013

New Med Highlight

Another gloriously bright sunny morning, and another day off. Grand! The tide was forecast to be reasonably high at 9.2 metres but not quite high enough to cover the marsh - so little chance of water pipits or jack snipe today!
Nonetheless, I headed out for the rising tide just in case something interesting got pushed up out the creeks or came floating down the Lune.
First off, I checked Freeman's Pools but they were disappointingly quiet with just the usual coot, little grebe, heron, mallard, teal and such on show.
Frog Pond was hosting 26 wigeon plus a pair of mute swan.
Darter Pool was bereft of birds while 20 or so each of teal and moorhen were the only things on the Wildfowlers' Pools.
A flock of thrushes came over; 12 mistle thrushes and 5 fieldfare. These are the first fieldfare that I've seen here this winter. The berry-filled hedgerows were positively bustling with blackbirds and smaller numbers of song thrush.
A couple of distant gamebirds caught my eye up on the drumlins. They looked very pale about the head so I got my 'scope out and confirmed what I thought - red-legged partridge! Not a terribly common species in these parts they are almost certainly released birds, as opposed to ones that have arrived here from a viable population elsewhere.
Out on the river there were hundreds of black-headed gulls milling around. I couldn't locate any adult Mediterranean gulls among them but I did eventually find a 1stw bird that I picked up as it flew in, before landing on the water.
Also on the estuary there were several hundred golden plover and curlew, c160 dunlin and a couple of thousand lapwing. 4 common snipe flew off Snipe Bog.
Walking back along Dawson's Bank I spotted a kingfisher as it flew off the marsh and toward the Wildfowlers' Pools.
I checked the length of the tide rack for foraging passerines but only came across a party of 7 meadow pipit and a single rock pipit.
A lone pinkfoot and 'that' snow goose were the only things amongst the mass of greylags and Canada geese. Even last week's whooper swan had cleared out.


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