Monday, 22 February 2016

Rain Gods With Zippos

I intended to do a blog post on Saturday with this title as it's a favourite Fish album of mine and also the Rain Gods were certainly out in force Saturday morning making seawatching impossible! Ian and I attempted it but we were either taking shelter from the rain or if it stopped momentarily the visibility in the bay was poor.

There are less birds using my feeding station at the moment and when I went to top up yesterday some of the niger feeders were still a third full. Lots of birds are singing and back on territory now and have probably moved away from the feeding station. I will keep them going through March and into April in the hope of a few Lesser (or Arctic or Mealy!) Redpolls and Siskins.

After we had that short cold snap just over a week ago the Pink-footed Geese disappeared from the Obs but I noticed they were back yesterday. There were only two hundred but there wasn't anything amongst them.

This morning I was seawatching again and the conditions were clear this time with a 20 mph northwesterly wind. It took me a while to find a sheltered position, but in the end I ended up using the viewing area on top of the tower. There was a constant stream of Herring, Lesser Black-backed, Great Black-backed, Common and Black-headed Gulls west as they exited their estuarine roost.

Passage at sea was slow, mainly because of the northwesterly wind, which is the worst direction off this particular stretch of coast. Meagre pickings included nine Cormorants, 38 Eiders, a Red-breasted Merganser, three Kittiwakes, three Common Scoters and a Little Gull.

By the time I left there was still an hour until high tide and therefore the waders were just starting to roost including 49 Sanderlings and twelve Ringed Plovers. The forecast is looking quite good over the next few days and I might actually get out to do some ringing!

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