Monday, 16 January 2017

Time & Tide

I finally found a chiffchaff this morning, the first I've come across this winter. It was in the company of a goldcrest (interestingly, I saw more of these today than I have for quite some time) feeding at the far end of Lucy Brook at the northern edge of Freeman's Wood.

I spent a good 3 hours rummaging around the area altogether but little else of significant note was to be found.
Freeman's Pools continues to host a few goldeneye, tufted duck, teal, gadwall and wigeon while a gaggle of greylags and Canada geese remain faithful to Frog Pond field.

A couple of jack snipe were with a pair of common snipe at Snipe Bog and good numbers of waders were on the estuary; lapwing, golden plover, redshank, curlew and dunlin.
The regular greenshank was on the Aldcliffe Marsh flashes.
A flock of some 900 pink-footed geese were grazing in fields between Heaton and Overton. At range, I couldn't pick out anything else among them and when a farm vehicle flushed them I scanned through them in flight and nothing stood out as different.

Yesterday, I managed to get down to Aldcliffe during the high tide. And what a high tide it was, with the saltmarsh mostly submerged.
Once again, I was surprised that I couldn't find any rock pipits.
I checked the tideline between Stodday and Marsh Point and didn't find a single pipit. A few years ago this would have been unthinkable - what has happened to them? Given that we believe that all the birds that winter on our estuaries are of Scandinavian origin, as opposed to sedentary British birds, what has changed to reduce the number arriving here?


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