Sadly, we might have to get used to these warmer, wetter winters as climate change bites. Then again if you listen to good old President Trump, climate change is nothing more than a myth, a conspiracy theory invented to stop or slow economical development. I'm afraid Trump, alongside other climate change nay-sayers, need to wake up and smell the coffee. Climate change isn't something that you have to believe in or not like Father Christmas, it's real end-of, it's not up for debate. I don't know why I am so grumpy about it today, maybe it's because I am fed up with the constant wind or rain and not being able to get out and commune with nature, or more to the point perhaps I am fed up with scientific fact being politicised which seems to be hapening all the time these days. It seems to be in vogue to deny science!
Anyway, enough of my grumpiness as there were a few birds earlier in the week, and I mean a few. I was back in the northeast at one of my wintering bird survey sites. The drive to the site takes about three and a half hours, and when I come off the M6 at Gretna it is a pleasnt drive northeast through the borders, a part of the world that I love.
There was lots of floods alongside rivers such as the Esk, Ewes Water, Teviot and Tweed. Alongside sections of the Tweed all winter I have seen large numbers of Swans, and I had thought that they might have been Whoopers. I have nothing to base this on other than their size, and numbers, and flashing past in a car at 60 mph it's hard to get much on them. Every time I see them I have been looking for somewhere to pull over and take a proper look, and I have come to the conclusion that 'numbers of Swans in roadside fields = zero laybys'! However, when I was driving back mid-week I did get some half-decent views from the car at the closer birds and they were Mutes! So, maybe they are all Mutes. I'll have to speak to my friend George and find out.
I have two VPs at my survey site close to Berwick, and on the maps I record all the species observed from the VP with any associated activity, and the maps can look quite busy. At the same time in my notebook I record any personal highlights, and I suppose it is the personal highlights that give me an indiaction of how quiet, or not so quiet the session has been.
The personal highlights in my notebook for my survey mid-week consisted of just seven species, not good. Before the tide ran in there were a number of Curlews, Redshanks and Turnstones feeding in the estuary numbering 45, 52 and 18 respectively. What is interesting is that as soon as the tide has covered the feeding areas, even though there are areas where the birds could roost, the birds move on, presumably to other feeding areas. This makes the site very quiet indeed at high water. I suppose I am used to sites locally in Liverpool and Morecambe Bay, where at high water there isn't anywhere for the birds to feed and they roost close to, or relatively close to feeding areas.
At high water on the river were eight Goldeneyes, three Eiders and a single Red-throated Diver. That's six out of the seven species in my notebook, and number seven were two Rock Pipits that flew over calling.
The forecast for the weekend...you've guessed it is for more wind and rain! Roll on spring, after all it is just around the corner!