...I wouldn't be getting out at all of late!
I have never known an autumn like it, and I know I've said that before recently. I have two wintering bird survey locations, with two survey areas at each site, and depending on the tide, it might be just four days to do two surveys at each, or if the tide isn't right it might take between four and eight. What I'm getting at, is that I should have plenty of time for my voluntary birding and ringing, but I'm not. Since late September there has only been a handful of days per month when the weather has been good for anything outdoors, and on these good days I've had to complete surveys for the day job. I shouldn't complain, as at least it keeps me out in the field.
Mid-month, I was back in the north-east at Teesside. There was no mist in the forecast, but it was certainly a misty morning when I completed my two surveys. Fortunately, the mist was never enough to prevent me seeing the distances required for the surveys.
My first survey location is away from the coast and it was quiet here. Highlights were few and far between, and the only sightings perhaps worth mentioning were 20 Lapwings, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Kestrel, a Song Thrush, seven Fieldfares and a Tree Sparrow that headed west, which was a new species for the site for me.
I've mentioned before, that from my second vantage point (VP) I can see out over the estuary, and hauled out on the mud were 25 Harbour Seals. A selection of wildfowl and waders were out on the estuary, including 42 Shelducks, 29 Wigeon, 16 Teal, 23 Red-breasted Mergansers, 40 Oystercatchers, 22 Golden Plovers, four Grey Plovers, 36 Curlews, 17 Bar-tailed Godwits and 118 Redshanks.
Other than that, a male Stonechat and a Kestrel were the only other things worth mentioning.
One of the favourite places that Gail and I like to stretch our legs for a wee dander, is the quay down by the Wyre estuary. Late morning yesterday, we did just that, and it was a cold half hour spent walking along the quayside overlooking the estuary.
The tide was just beginning to fall, and a few waders were starting to feed on the small areas of mud that were starting to appear. Not many, just 22 Redshanks and eleven Oystercatchers. As we rounded the corner and started heading to the mouth of the estuary it was even colder, and you can see how bleak it looks from the picture below. All we could add was a Peregrine perched up on the old ferry infrastructure.
I was alarmed to read in the Conservation News section of a recent British Wildlife, that in 2021 the number of documented violations of legislation designed to reduce water pollution caused by farming in England were at record levels, as the rules remain largely unenforced. Environment groups estimate that there were tens of thousands of undocumented violations. And even more alarming was the fact that the Environment Agency had been instructed by DEFRA not to enforce the rules. Shocking!
I'm hoping that the weather starts to behave itself soon, so I can get out in the field other than just for the day job!