Before I go into detail regarding the grim solstice morning's birding I had, I just want to wish all my readers a Happy Winter Solstice! At least after today we can look forward to lengthening days! Technically winter solstice is at 04:48 on 22nd December, so the shortest day will actually be tomorrow! But being a traditionalist I'll stick to the 21st!
I decided to see if I could get out birding for an hour or so before the forecast heavy rain came in. I managed about an hour, but probably wouldn't have stayed any longer even if the rain hadn't come in as the birding was so dire!
At first light I was greeted with 7 oktas cloud cover with a moderate-strong south-southwesterly wind. I took shelter in front of the tower and set my scope up. High tide was just after seven so the tide was still in when I started my watch. As usual the waders were getting kicked about the beach by dog walkers and included 200 Sanderlings, 175 Oystercatchers, 22 Ringed Plovers, three Dunlins and fifteen Turnstones.
Talking about wader disturbance Ian and I had a good meeting with the RSPBs Marine Conservation Officer last week about measures we could put in place to both limit the disturbance from people at the high tide roost and also how these people could be educated about the disturbance they are causing. More on this in the near future hopefully when proposals get firmed up.
It was even quieter on the sea with just three Cormorants, 24 Common Scoters, two Red-breasted Mergansers and 27 Eiders on the scar.
As I walked back to my car I heard a couple of Blue Tits alarm calling and a male Sparrowhawk shot through the scrub. The weather is looking brilliant over the next week or so but as it's the holiday season and I'm going to take a bit of time off I will try my best to get out.
Billinge: 9th to 23rd April 2017 - Apologies for the lack of updates recently but other things have just got in the way. I put in quite a bit of effort at Billinge in the two weeks following...
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