Thursday, 27 December 2012

High Flying Divers and Low Flying Geese

The above isn't strictly true as some of the divers off the Point this morning were flying low and some of the Geese were high, but generally it was the main feature of this morning's seawatching. At first light I had complete cloud cover with a 10 mph westerly wind, which swung to an ENE from 0935 and cleared all the murk from the bay in the process.

Off the Point a shingle island has developed over recent years that only gets covered by the higher high tides and this morning was a morning when it would get covered. It would seem that the Oystercatchers knew this as there were 452 roosting on the beach as I walked towards my seawatching location along with a nice small flock of eight Grey Plovers.

Other waders roosted and fed as the tide came in and dropped including 222 Sanderlings, 77 Turnstones (not a flagged bird amongst them) and 20 Ringed Plovers.

It was fairly slow on the sea at first but when the murk cleared things seemed to pick up. Sightings included 30 Red-breasted Mergansers, 30 Common Scoters, 28 Auk sp., 17 Wigeon, a Teal, two Great Crested Grebes, three Shelducks, a Razorbill and three male Eiders.

The most interesting feature was the westerly passage of Divers and northerly movement of Pink-footed Geese. In total I had 42 Red-throated Divers head out of the bay (west) and three in (east). A great number of these birds were well above the horizon, reminiscent of the spring passage in to the Bay, but heading in the opposite direction. In total we had 1,480 Pink-footed Geese heading north across the bay, but from a westerly direction. These birds seemed to perhaps have been coming across Liverpool Bay from the south and then as they were getting towards the Furness Peninsula starting to track east. I am intrigued to know where they might have been heading and why!

After three and half hours of Diver watching I headed to the Turnstone feeding station to see if I could re-sight any leg flagged birds and in total I had six. Fingers crossed we should hopefully catch and mark some more birds at weekend.

Turnstones at the feeding station (above) and bathing in a puddle (below)

 I have also been to my farmland bird feeding station a couple of times over the Christmas period and had 1,200 Woodpigeons, seven Fieldfares, 92 Tree Sparrows and 19 Chaffinch. The forecast doesn't look good for any mist netting anytime soon, and particularly not tomorrow, so it will probably be some more seawatching for me.

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