Apart from the weather I had quite good start to the New Year birding wise and recorded a few good species this morning as well as some decent counts. I headed to the Point for first light and sheltered in front of the tower with Ian. At first light we had 4 oktas cloud cover with a moderate southeasterly wind. The visibility was quite good with Walney Island across the bay quite clear, but by 1000 the rain moved in and the bay was 'locked down' with murk!
We didn't have a huge variety of waders on the beach mainly because the weather was so appalling later on in the morning that it wasn't fit to walk down the Point and count the roosting waders so my count only included 301 Oystercatchers, 14 Sanderlings, 12 Dunlins and 12 Turnstones.
On the sea we had a good count of Red-throated Divers totalling 43 flying west out of the Bay and two good New Year's Day species in the form of a Great Skua and a male Velvet Scoter. The Bonxie was quite distant but we did watch it harrying large Gulls and at one point it dropped to the sea, obviously to collect whatever food item it had forced the Gull to drop. Everything was a little distant today and the male Velvet Scoter could have been closer, but it was close enough to appreciate.
Other counts over the sea included 29 Cormorants, 89 Pink-footed Geese north, five Red-breasted Mergansers, a Common Scoter, four Little Gulls west, a Kittiwake, ten Auk sp. west, a fem./imm. Goldeneye on the sea and a Great Crested Grebe west. Other than ten Linnets that was it for the Point.
I then moved on to the Marine Lakes in the hope of some roosting waders on the island and perhaps a Purple Sandpiper or two. Because of the wind direction the waders were roosting on the north side of the island, making viewing difficult, and I recorded 40 Redshanks and 22 Turnstones.
Out on the lakes were ten Red-breasted Mergansers, two Mute Swans and two Goldeneyes. It's back to work for me tomorrow but I'll be at my feeding station first thing before I start, but whether it will be light enough for me to record anything I'm not sure, but I will let you know. The one good thing is that it should be dry before more rain on Friday!
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