Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Mediterranean Gull Begins Good Day.

A peacefull summer evening at the pond. No one talking:-)

27th July. It was back to birding today and a preparatory run for a planned days birding with Aughton Birder (coming soon:-)). Dropped off at the Brier Dene car park, the long staying Mediterranean Gull, almost in full summer plumage was ticked almost immediately. Timed to perfection, so that just before someone in the car park started to feed the gulls and disturbed them all. Then the walk to St Mary’s Island brought not a lot apart from Swallow, Sand Martin and lots of Pied Wagtails.

I was hoping for Roseate Tern today and took a look on the rocks, but the tide was a little too far out so I took a walk around the wetland and found nothing of real interest apart from a calling Reed Bunting and a large flock of feeding House Sparrows. Someone I spoke to reckoned that a family of foxes has wiped out the birds on the wetland. I’m not so sure about that! I did find a good number of Curlews in the fields and had a good look for Whimbrel without success. As I was looking through the Curlew a flock of maybe 100+ Golden Plover (in various stages of plumage) appeared and eventually settled in the field with the Curlew. I found a solitary Dunlin in the bay. By now I was fancying an ice-cream, but put this off as I heard the calls of Sandwich Terns, so I headed along the promenade. Numbers of Sandwich Terns, many of them juveniles in a very attractive plumage, gathered gradually on the rocks. Occasionally, adults would fly in with a catch of fish and feed the juveniles. I spent seventy-five minutes here in the hope of a Roseate Tern appearing, during which time I spent watching the comings and goings of waders as the tide slowly engulfed them. By now the Golden Plover had appeared and were accompanied by Oystercatchers, Turnstones (of which there were large numbers), Redshank and Curlew. It had been a very warm day but I was beginning to feel the chill of being close to the sea and feeling I ought to move on when a couple of Common Terns joined the Sandwich Terns so I decided to give it a few more minutes. Just as I was getting ready to move I decided to check the northerly group of Sandwich Terns again and there it was a Roseate Tern had arrived. I watched it for several minutes before it vanished with some of the Sandwich Terns.

The walk along to Seaton Sluice didn’t bring too much although I did have my ice-cream before I set off, with the calls of terns over the sea. There was a sizeable close flock of Eiders in drab eclipse out on the sea and several Guillemots. The occasional Fulmar flew along side the cliffs and a small fishing boat had attracted the attention of numbers of Great Black Backed Gulls.

The walk along the saltmarsh and through Holywell Dene was eventful in that it brought a sandpiper sighting just before the road bridge. I only caught a brief sighting when I had stopped for a bite to eat and thought it was a Common Sandpiper. On reflection I did see it fly away and clearly saw the white rump so it was in fact a Green Sandpiper, of that, I now have no doubt. It flew down the burn after lifting from just under the bridge. Apart from this there wasn’t much of note about in the dene although the song of a Song Thrush and the constant calls of Wood Pigeons gave a real atmosphere to the warm evening. I did catch the call of a Kestrel and a very short blast from a Tawny Owl.

My hopes of seeing Barn Owl were dashed as I think I was too early. I did find a pair of Bullfinch, with at least one juvenile, and heard Yellowhammers singing, although not the full song in the main, as I got close to the pond.

Cloud that had been threatening to burst, by now dispersed to give a wonderfully sunlit summer evening. There wasn’t much in the way of excitement at the pond however. Numbers of Lapwing, Grey Herons, Little Grebe and gulls were amongst the usual residents. It was good just to sit and take the evening in. I’m usually there earlier in the day. Greenfinches were the only birds to appear at the feeding station. The cygnets that were raised nearby are quite a size now. Swifts, Swallows and House Martins hunted over the pond and above, and accompanied my walk into Holywell village where my walk ended. I had amassed a list of 57 species, including two year ticks. Only 23 more needed if we are to hit the target 80!:-)

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