Wednesday, 21 August 2013

A Lynx from the Links

20th Aug.  Sam and I begun our walk from St Mary’s Island and soon afterwards we were watching a Lynx.  It’s always good to have Sam’s encyclopaedic knowledge of such flying machines at hand.  I’ve since looked at some airborne flips from this machine on the internet which where quite spectacular.

Courtesy of Samuel Hood...Under the Hood Photography (as is the info).   'An Army Air Corps. Helicopter although the Royal Navy do you use them, usually the easiest way to tell them apart is most of the time the AAC Lynx has skids on the bottom whereas the navy use wheels on the bottom of their helicopters. The standard production version I believe has a cruising speed of around 150-175 Knots at top whack, whereas the special adapted lynx that broke the speed record got up to 249MPH. If I remember rightly the reg number for the aircraft was G-LYNX, but can't remember if that is correct or not.

It was good to have the Lynx flyover as on the whole sea watching proved non-productive.  Eiders, Common Scoter and Gannets were amongst birds seen.  The tide was at its highest point so waders were not easy to find although the flock of Golden Plover behind the island, had amongst it Dunlin, Turnstone, Ringed Plover and Curlew. A quick look from Seaton Sluice brought us little in addition, but we had seen several Wall Brown Butterflies.

After tea we made through the dene as we planned to spend some time at Holywell Pond.  We heard both Barn Owl (I think it had been disturbed by corvids) and Great Spotted Woodpeckers.  A juvenile Grey Wagtail was found on the burn and the regular sighting of Stock Dove was made.  Willow Warble was seen briefly as were more Wall Brown Butterflies.

The evening at the pond was to be once again a rewarding one.  The hoped for passage waders didn’t make an appearance, but Sam and I were happy to watch the regular waterfowl, the single Common Snipe and the two Curlews that flew into roost.  We paid special attention to the plumage of these birds, something in my opinion can often be overlooked by many in the chase to find rarer birds.  The birds showed well in the evening light and I’m pleased to say it was much warmer than on my previous visit.  There was no sign of Greenshanks on either the main pond or East Pond this evening so maybe these birds have now moved on.

We remained until 8.30pm by which time two Curlews had become forty-seven and hundreds of hirundines were flying over the pond and over the surrounding fields.  Sand Martins, Swallows and House Martins were feeding and drinking prior to roosting.  I don’t think I have ever seen quite so many in the area as I did this evening.  There were plenty of insects about, one of which managed to give me quite a bite on my face.  As we watched the swooping birds on our walk back to the village more Curlews flew in to roost making the total about eighty-five birds.  We then heard the distant calling of geese.  The sound of Greylag Geese gradually increased until several small skeins flew overhead and onto the pond.  We estimated that there were at least two hundred Greylag Geese.  By now the light was leaving us, as the long days of mid summer are no longer.

So nothing in the least that would be considered rare, but none the less it is evenings like this that ensures my passion for birds and nature doesn’t diminish.  Not to mention the fact that we don’t often begin our walks by watching a Lynx.

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