Saturday 21 January 2023

Sniping and Knotting

Another freezing night with a sunny day. A very cold SE wind.

South Shore (MD/JP)
I checked at high water (MD). The saltmarsh was already three quarters covered. I didn't expect to see any Common Snipe, which tend to leave early towards Middleton Nature Reserve, but thought there may be a Jack Snipe or two. Didn't see any Jack Snipe, but was surprised by.....
Common Snipe 63 - most flew around looking for somewhere to land, the regular birds, tend just to head straight for the Reserve, so presumably these "additional" birds have been displaced from somewhere by the freezing conditions.

Comment Snipe
Bar-Tailed Godwit 8
Kingfisher 1 - presumably the Red Nab bird, flew across the saltmarsh towards Middleton Nature Reserve.
Reed Bunting 5
Skylark 3
Linnet 5
Rock Pipit 1 
All the above on the saltmarsh, a second Rock Pipit was on Red Nab

A walk along the sea wall to the harbour located 
Kittiwake 30 - 4 on the outflows 26 near the harbour waterfall 
I was quite pleased with my Kittiwake pictures today, but they pale in comparison to Janet's shots. All the rest of today's images are either Janet's then later Howard's. Being high resolution they really should be opened to enjoy the detail within.

First Winter Kittiwakes in the harbour 

Cormorants coming in to land - first winter bird on the right

Turnstone and a Redshank along the sea wall

North shore
Howard managed to read another eight colour ringed Knot at high water, first on the Near Naze, then on the old heliport wall. Howard's excellent pictures make this look much easier than it actually is, only a tiny percentage are colour ringed, and most of the time those that are tend to be hidden or partially hidden behind other birds/obstacles.
These shots show the profusion of Knot

None of the above are ringed, then, almost unbelievably, this happens....... wait ages for one colour ringed Knot to turn up, then two arrive!

We have had the history of two of the birds read on Thursday, one was ringed on Ainsdale Beach Merseyside, the other on Sanday in the Orkneys. These colour ringed schemes are not designed to provide entertainment for birdwatchers. They are to identify bird movements, so that hard evidence can be presented to protect habitats vital for them to continue to survive. Howard did well reading eight today, but that was largely as there was only minimal disturbance of the birds. Further checks will take place in this current phase of spring tides. The spectacle of the birds roosting on the Heliport wall is special, but you need specialist equipment to read the rings. If you go for a look please enjoy the spectacle from a distance.