Oct 6, 2008

Brig of Waith

A quick spin out some where to day just could not be avoided. It seems like days we have been stuck indoors,traped by endless rain and a north wind. I managed a spin down to the Brig of Waith for the quickest of spys. The tide was on the fall and looked high but not bad. Over on the Stenness loch side the skerry was occupied by forty Curlew and about the same in Lapwing. A few Turnstone dotted along one edge of the Lapwings dozed quietly.. Little else was to be seen out on the loch a couple of Dunters and a couple of seals skulked about. The shore in the distance below the Howe road junction fairly buzzed with small birds. Scoping them up it looked like a large flock of Mipits feeding.

Returning to the seaward side the farthest shore is dotted with Common Gull and Curlew. Little else is to be seen amongst them, a few Redshank and one Black tailed godwit. Over the rough near ground my progress disturbs a flock of feeding Twite. They take to the air in a noisy flight thirty strong. Swirling around me they land no farther than the spot they took off from. As I pass them they seem oblivious to my presence. Crossing the stubble field that will give a view over to the dead sands meadow pipits take off from around my feet. There’s a bit of commotion as a hundred yards from me Starlings and Rooks take to the air, sure enough the culprit is clear. A ring tailed Harrier passes over the field before heading out over the water and over the dead sands before me. Flocks of waders take to the air before it dispersing in panicked flocks to the distant fields and safety. Some circle and land back on the muddy sand but not for long as the big raptor starts to quarter the further fields and fence line.

Approaching the field edge there are twenty or more Mallard and a few Teal that are now spooked out of there sheltered hiding spot concealed directly below me. Three red breasted Mergansers also push out from the side. Looking at all three its impossible to tell which is which with the sexes. The males take on female plumage at this time of year…it must be enough to give a young saw tooth a complex. Across the water Curlews predominate with a few Dunlin dotted about. The only other bird of note is a Black Tailed Godwit. Struggling with the sun in the face I head back to the bike where once again I am treated to a fine display from the flock of Twite. It is fresh and bright with threatening clouds. The wind has sung around to the South East and is carrying a milder air flow. The sky above is now full of the cries of Greylag geese. This last while has seen quite a passage of Pink feet moving over at altitude but Greylag arrivals have been boosted by the N/W winds of the last couple of days. What we need now is a strong constant weather system to blow from the N/E…..we can but hope

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