Saturday, 25 January 2014

Seaton Sluice Soaking

25th Jan.  Sam and I began today’s walk at Holywell and despite a forecast of heavy showers the morning was bright, mild and even sunny at times.  We hoped to add a few species to the year list.  Scaup wasn’t to be one of the new species, as once again we failed to have any sighting of these birds which appear to be being reported regularly on the pond.  We did find a large number of Gadwall once again along with numbers of Wigeon, Teal, Mallard and the odd Pochard and Tufted Duck.  Mute Swans approached the hide as if expecting to be fed.  A Grey Heron was seen on the island and a Reed Bunting fed on the feeders.

No Tree Sparrows were found at the feeding station, but were seen along the hedgerow.  A lone Curlew fed in the fields to the south of the pond and earlier a flock of Lapwing were found in the west field along with numbers of Great Black-backed Gulls.  A Yellowhammer was heard as we looked over the fields north of the dene from where we saw a good number of Pink-footed Geese flying in the distance.  They initially looked as though they were coming our way, but suddenly dropped down to the ground.

The hoped for Dipper wasn’t seen or heard in the dene, but we soon found Treecreeper and a couple of Great Spotted Woodpeckers.  There was little in any of the feeders, but what was there had attracted tits, Robin and Dunnock.  The walk from the dene to the fish and chips shop was uneventful birdwise apart from a skein of Pink-footed Geese flying towards the sea which we thought were part of a larger flock that we had seen earlier.

As we finished off our lunch the heavens opened and as there was a long queue of folk waiting to get a table we felt obliged to leave the warmth and dryness of the café and venture forth.  Just as we crossed the road to make for the cliff the rain increased.  We were soon soaked.  Our reward was to see a good number of waders feeding as the tide went out.  Waders seen below the cliff were Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Knot, Sanderling, Turnstone, Purple Sandpiper, Dunlin and Redshank.  Birds seen on or over the sea included Red-throated Diver, Teal, Eider, Common Scoter, Kittiwake, Guillemot, Razorbill and Puffin (by Sam only).

By now the rain was feeling increasingly uncomfortable as the dampness seemed to reach higher and higher, so despite the storm passing over and a better afternoon looking distinctly likely, we chose to make for home rather than carry on to St Mary’s Island.

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