Monday, 23 December 2013

Holywell to Seaton Sluice

22nd Dec.  Sam and I seemed to be the only folk bird watching on our route today, although we came across a group of walkers and one or two groups of joggers/runners.  We were fortunate enough to reach the hide at Holywell Pond just before the onset of the only heavy shower to hit us during the walk.  We looked out for the reported Scaup on Holywell Pond but, found none.  At least eleven Gadwall were found, along with Little Grebe, Mallard, Wigeon, Teal and Tufted Duck which were joined by several Great Black Backed Gulls which flew in from the west fields.  A Common Buzzard flew over the northern woodland.  Just before we moved on a lone Canada Goose called as it flew in and landed on the water.


Despite the feeders having been topped up at the feeding station we found only one or two Blue Tits.  As we made for Holywell Dene we were unable to locate any geese.  The mud stained Seaton Burn ran deep and fast. A wait to see if we could find the Dippers brought us nothing except time for a chat, although shortly afterwards we came a cross a Dipper further down the burn.  The Dipper seemed conscious of our presence, but fed happily not far from us and wasn’t disturbed at all until other walkers passed by at which point it flew up the burn, but still offered us a good sighting through the scope.  Nearby one of the feeding stations in the dene attracted Treecreeper, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Robin and Chaffinch.  We watched for some time the acrobatic tits on the coconut shell. Bullfinches and Blackbirds were also seen in this area.

We stopped at the dipping pond, but the area around it was silent and it wasn’t until we were approaching the area of Seaton Sluice that we noticed Mallards on pools of water on the marsh area.  As we watched them a Grey Heron appeared on it’s regular territory and flew off and put what it thought was a safe distance between it and us.

Our intention would normally be to walk to St Mary’s Island and beyond, but today was to be short, the previous day being the shortest day, and we knew any light would soon be lost.  A decision was made to make for home after a short look over the sea.  The pastel sky behind St Mary’s lighthouse reflected the fact that our decision to walk no further was the correct one.  We found Oystercatchers, Knot, Purple Sandpipers and Turnstones below us as the tide came in.  Across the sea we found a number of Red Throated Divers flying north, several Razorbills, Common Scoters, Eider Ducks and Cormorants.  At least two Rock Pipits called as they flew around the area.

By the time we set off for home the wind was bitterly cold and the light had gone.  We resolved to make sure we do some serious Dipper watching in 2014.  Mind you this has to fit in with many other plans we have.  The day had given us the chance to discuss some of these plans and speculate on what might be some good camera lenses.

Killy Birder wishes you a peaceful Christmas.

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