Friday 9 December 2022

Don't kick the birds!

Another freezing night plenty of sun during the day, but cloudy spells too. A very light breeze from the east.

South shore (MD)
A mid morning walk on the rising tide
There were a few passerines around the saltmarsh, most with their feathers fluffed out.
Blackbird 1 
First winter male Blackbird 

Reed Bunting 3
Reed Bunting 

Greenfinch 2
Male Greenfinch 

I'd walked around the saltmarsh edge, and had stopped at some ground water seeping out to check the Reed Buntings in the brambles above (not a coincidence that they were near unfrozen water). As I set off again my foot caught something. I don't know if I actually kicked it or it flew into my boot, but it was a Jack Snipe 

Jack Snipe
I don't like accidentally flushing birds, but particularly so in such harsh conditions. Fortunately it just did a short circuit of the saltmarsh and returned from whence it came.
Common Snipe 1 on foreshore rocks

Rock Pipit 4 - 2 on foreshore, 1 on Red Nab and this one along the sea wall. Totally oblivious to me and presumably finding recently deceased invertebrates blown into the wall edge.

Kingfisher 1 was resting on the sloping sea wall. It headed towards the wooden jetty
Shelduck 170
Wigeon c80
Little Egret 3 on Red Nab
Great White Egret 2 together heading west out from the wooden jetty.
Distant Great White Egret

Grey Seal 1 female was feeding in No.2 outflow. Unfortunately there was lots of water vapour rising off the warmer water, so I kept losing her in the mist, plus she kept diving, first to feed then to avoid the gulls when she caught a Bass. In this clip she has a Bass and the gulls start gathering.
I left her to her meal, as I continued my walk I thought that of all the creatures that I had seen today, this was the least, if at all, affected by the cold. Here she was swimming in what was effectively a sauna surrounded by sluggish fish (Bass are a warm water species). My speculation was borne out on my return. She had finished her meal and looked very content and relaxed.

Yesterday evening, Janet reported that the Pinkfoot in the fields beyond Meldon Rd were feeding well after dark. Today they must have fed better and began leaving just as it was getting dark. These are some passing into the recording area as they make their way to their overnight roost.