Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Drink A Penny

I decided to have an hour and a half on the river this morning before strapping myself in to my home office to do some work. I had clear skies with a cold 15 mph north-northwesterly wind.

Walking through the 'Hawthorn tunnel' or 'Thrush alley', as I sometimes refer the path to the estuary as, I flushed 22 Blackbirds, two Redwings and a Fieldfare. Some were feeding on the Hawthorn berries and I think some were exiting their roost that seemed to be in dense vegetation on the ditch side.

At the end of the path I walked on to the saltmarsh so I could look down the river and on to the mudflats. Walking across the saltmarsh I put up 19 Snipes and four Rock Pipits. I counted 230 Pink-footed Geese leaving the roost and sat down on a log to have a coffee. Even though the wind was cold it was clear and the visibility was good. Similar to yesterday the numbers of waders and wildfowl were towards the mouth of the estuary, which was too far away to make any meaningful counts.

After my coffee I headed over to the pool to have a loot at any wildfowl on there. In a quiet corner were eight Little Grebes feeding and it was a pleasure to watch them. Once they dived, and the rings of wavelets had dispersed, I could follow them feeding under water by tracking their air bubbles rising to the surface; beautiful!

Little Grebe - Going...



On Facebook Kane posted today to say that he was working at Castle Espie on Strangford Lough in Ireland, and Strangford Lough is one of my favourite places anywhere. I suppose I am biased as that's where a lot of family come from! Why am I telling you this? The local name for Little Grebe in the Strangford Lough area is 'Drink A Penny', hence my blog title and hence telling you this wee tale!  

Besides the Little Grebes the pool held three Coots, three Moorhens, five Goldeneyes, 11 Tufted Ducks and two Teal.


My walk back didn't reveal much else other than a Song Thrush, two Reed Buntings, a single Goldcrest and a Water Rail calling from the small reedbed.

On my way home I stopped off at the dual carriageway to see if there were any Waxwings and there was just a single bird. Where all its mates were I don't know! My last port of call on my ten minute drive home was the geese fields which just held 27 Pink-footed Geese.


I won't be out again until weekend, so fingers crossed for some decent weather!

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