Mar 26, 2011

The soggy shore

Spurred on by a report of the first Wheatear of the spring on the west side coast I headed to Stromness to have a look about. First off I had a look for the Purple sandpipers but they were not to be found. I managed some shots of a pair of Dunters and moved along the shore only to find a cooperative Redshank and Oystercatcher. There were a couple of seals about hauled up and others sleeping in the water. The closest one to the shore had a good amount of blood coming from wounds around its throat although it didn’t seem to bothered. It was a misty looking Hoy and Graemsay across the water and the water its self took on the grey of the skys and held a strong greasy motion in the tide. With only a few Dunters a couple of Mergansers and a few assorted gull I thought a move along the shore might be more beneficial. The last thing to hold my interest was a Scarfie on a rock . It was a distant view but looking through the bins I could see the rock was getting well washed over by the waves and it was ignoring the water about its feet.. It was out as far as the scope and camera could reach but I shot off ten or fifteen pictures trying to get a sharp one of the action. I didn’t really get one but its good to practice…I tell my self. Jumping the bike its over to Warbeth and a wander along the shore.
Warbeth on the falling tide was particularly empty of birds, things looked even less promising with the arrival of more wind carried drizzle. I bet the lip and hopped that the weather might bring down any moving birds. It was a bit of a plod but the end of the sands held only a flock of Oystercatchers and one or two Redshanks. The rocky shore fared a lot better though with four or five Pied wagtails moving along before me. At one point I came nose to nose with a Meadow pipit on a stab, the closest view of one this year!. The drizzle was becoming more and more persistent, this was leading to the inevitable turn and walk back. Crossing a fence and cresting a rise curtains of grey wetness rolled down the shore before me. I stood looking along the shore and thought jees!!. Surveying the scene before me my reluctance to turn and walk face first into the rain paid a dividend as a Curlew rose up and preformed a stunning display, It flew in tight horizontal circles between ten and twenty feet high. There were several sharp changes of direction and jinking flight. Even though it was down wind im pretty sure the bird at no time called. It ended this flight which had gone on for ages by just as dramaticaly and abruptly as it had started by dropping out the sky and back down on the shore. I don’t know what was going on but it was pretty cool at the time!
Another ten minutes watching the shore and that was enough though, it was buff up and hat down for the plod back to the bike. The head down attitude as I shouldered in to the weather did produce a field mouse running on the shore as I passed it. Lesser celandines were putting out the first flowers and there was piles of dog shit!! The last section leading to the sandy shore produced three Rock pipits moving along rolled up mats of seaweed ahead of me. Its just everyday stuff in the rain to day but it is nice to get out in the slightly raised seasonal temperatures. It’s the boat race this weekend another good marker for the year……OXFORD!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment