23rd Nov. I never tire of the walk between Holywell Village and St Mary’s Island, although I think maybe this is the first time I have walked it in a while starting at Holywell Village.
I understand that the pond had been covered in geese yesterday, but today it was very quiet during the period Sam and I were in the members hide, with only small numbers of Wigeon and Teal amongst the many Mallards and the odd Tufted Duck. I can’t help but feel that the area on either side of the hide which was once a very attractive feeding station for numerous birds has never been the same since the surrounding vegetation has been cut back. Perhaps in the longer term there will be some gain. It’s always a spot that has appealed to me.
We didn’t spend long in the public hide before making off into the open fields hoping to find geese. We did have several skeins of Pink-footed Geese in the air. Although they appeared to be preparing to land we couldn’t find them in the open fields. Instead we contented ourselves in finding two Grey Partridge and twenty plus Tree Sparrows (a conservative estimate), amongst which we also found Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Siskin and Yellowhammer.
The walk down to the dene was quiet apart from four Skylarks. We doubled back so as not to miss out the likely area for Dippers and it wasn’t to long before we were watching one of the Dippers in the burn. Grey Wagtail was also seen well. I felt that the dene itself was unusually quiet of bird life for the time of year. Neither of the feeding stations had been topped up, not that this is meant as a complaint, as I know all this is done voluntarily. The feeders at the reserve were almost empty as well. Woodland birds seen included Great, Coal, Blue and Long-tailed Tits. Although the light was poor it is a nice time of year to be in the dene.
Purely coincidently this favourite of walks includes my favourite fish and chip restraunt. Before we had lunch we watched the Stonechat and counted numbers of Redshank flying up the burn.
The after lunch sea watch was restricted as we had no telescope with us today, but we still managed good sightings of close in Common Scoters, Red Throated Divers, Goldeneye and Eiders. Sam found a couple of Long Tailed Ducks. Waders below included Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Purple Sandpiper, and Redshank.
I thought this young lady looked to be a bit of a swinger!
Our walk along to St Mary’s Island was in ever increasing poor late afternoon light. Rock Pipit was found and we added Curlew and Lapwings to the list of waders. We were ready for home by the time we reached the wetland which provided us with the likes of Gadwall and Common Snipe.