Thursday 8 December 2022

Knot......a lot more

Another freezing night followed by a clear still day. What little air movement there was came from the east.

South shore (MD)
I checked as the tide was covering the shore out from the saltmarsh 
Wigeon c60 arriving at Red Nab as I passed
Shelduck 150 counted but more arrived later
Lapwing 112
Not so many waders on the tideline today although plenty just beyond the recording area.
Bar-Tailed Godwit 10. These had been feeding on the tideline well within the recording area, but as they fly away, you can see the wader numbers increasing the further south they go.
I could have counted the more distant waders as "seen from" the recording area, but the tide was making quickly, so I just had a quick scan to check there was nothing different amongst them - couldn't see anything.
Other waders close in:
Ringed Plover 30 in small resting groups (14, 6, 7 and 3)
Dunlin c250
Grey Plover 5 (3 singles plus 2)
Grey Plover

Curlew 7
Oystercatcher 3 (unusually low number for here)
Redshank 80+
Common Snipe 12 - 5 were flushed as I walked around the edge of the saltmarsh, ground water seeps out here preventing it from completely freezing. The other 7 were feeding at the edge of the saltmarsh where the rising tide was thawing the mud.
Common Snipe behind Lapwing

You can see all 7 feeding snipe in this clip.
Reed Bunting 1

Middleton Nature Reserve (MD)
I went to see if any darvic ringed Black-Headed gulls were resting on the ice. There were lots of gulls but no rings. It is worth checking here in these conditions as there is often at least one colour ringed bird.
The Mute Swan family have maintained an open patch of water at the main pond feeding area. As well as them there were another two adult keeping their distance on the ice, plus another adult on the completely frozen "no swimming" pond (definitely no swimming today!).
Eight Mallard plus two Moorhen made up the current wildfowl total.
The mainly frozen main pond at Middleton 

Near Naze and old Heliport 
Howard did very well again today in conditions that don't always allow a clear view of the birds, he managed to read a further eight colour ringed Knot. These are a few of today's birds.
They roosted first on the Near Naze
This one was ringed in Lincolnshire 

Then moved to the Heliport wall, fortunately some along the top

The older flags can be quite worn, by the rough terrain that they often feed over
Howard's excellent pictures make reading these rings look a lot easier than it actually is. If you go for a look please make sure that you do not spook the birds. Apart from the bird's need to conserve energy at this time of year, there may also be someone else watching from another vantage point. 
Common Snipe 30+ on the old heliport field

This clip from this morning is a bit different. It's on the shore out from the saltmarsh. The beach is very flat here, which means two things, first seawater is trapped between the ripples, which today had frozen between the tides. Secondly, the water come in very quickly. In this clip you can see the rising tide lifting the ice that formed between the ripples. They looked quite spectacular as most were invisible till they caught the sunlight. Still reasonably impressive as a clip, but it was much, much better in real time.
.......but, it was time to leave!