Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Mexican Wave

It wasn't as cold as yesterday as I stood looking out to sea at Rossall Point this morning. It was fairly clear with a stiff southeasterly wind. In fact there was quite a swell that surprised me. I was a few minutes later this morning than yesterday so the most obnoxious dog walker known to man that I described to you yesterday was already a long way down the beach. He was of course still flushing stuff but not at the same time as I was trying to scope the birds which meant that I was more relaxed!

There weren't quite as many Oystercatchers this morning, only 132, but numbers of Sanderling had increased to 171. I never tire of watching Sanderling and they were as entertaining as always. As the tide was running in I was watching them feeding frantically along the waters edge whilst there was some sand and mud still available for them to feed on. As the tide came in and covered their feeding grounds they proceeded to roost, being pushed progressively higher up the beach and on to the shingle. It was interesting to look at individuals strategies when disturbed by the waves. They were all roosting on one leg to prevent heat loss and when disturbed by the tide some of them dropped their other leg and ran forward a couple of feet and started to roost again, whilst others would just hop forward on one leg. Some of the birds were allowing some of the spray to splash over them and bathe in the shallow water, with one or two birds taking it a little too far and being nearly knocked over.

Numbers of Turnstone had increased to 38 and Ringed Plovers decreased to 11. Other waders included two Curlews and 11 Grey Plovers. Raptor wise all I had was a single Kestrel at first light, but talking to Frank and Alan later, they had a Peregrine come in off the sea.

The sea was more productive this morning and I had 18 Eiders, nine Cormorants, Shelduck, female Goldeneye, three Auk sp., two Great Crested Grebes and a single red-throated Diver. The Common Scoter this morning were doing their 'Mexican wave' and therefore I had quite a good count for here. As birds took off they would push other birds into the air, creating the effect of a Mexican wave or perhaps you would describe it as a 'domino' effect. In all 299 Scoters took part in the Mexican wave!

Heading back to the car I bumped in to Peter who was filming the waders for one of his wildlife films and at the coastguards tower I bumped into Frank and Alan who were trying to bag a species or two for their Fylde year list. The three Stonechats were still around the dunes, but sometimes venturing forth on to the beach to forage for invertebrates in the tidal wrack.

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