Sep 29, 2013

Been a while

was out with Tim Deans saturday class today for the first monthly walk of eight. We started at the east end of Newark beach with me arriving late !! However we were soon scoping the beach picking out every thing to be seen and comparing sizes of waders from sanderling up to godwit and golden plover. Off shore gannets actively fished. With this we moved off to the Mullhead plantation where we found Allan Leicht and Julian Branscome packing up their morning ringing effort. They had been catching the birds we had come to look for, in this case yellow browed warblers. These are regular passing migrants all be it in small numbers This year its a some what different story, there have been record numbers in Norway and yesterday the count on Shetland went over three hundred ! Although Shetland sits in a good position to hover up tired migrants before they reach us many have been getting through. In the trees the lads have caught three of five that were about. We had a quick series of glimpses of one flitting about also robin and wren scolding away, snipe and brambling over head before we moved off to Grindigar via the kirk yard at Sandside. Here we checked out the rocky shore and enjoyed the dramatic sight of the last of the bonxies harassing the gannets for the food they were catching. The safer water close in held the first returning widgeon flock I have seen this autumn, another treat. Grindigar quarry gave us a good place for a quiet coffee whilst we enjoyed very close views of A couple of yellow browed warblers flitting about our heads. This pair turned to three then briefly four until one went from YBW to chifchaf to willow warbler. Still they provided excellent entertainment. The last stop on the whistle stop tour of Deerness was Sandi sand accros from Dingishowe A tramp out over the sands brought us first close to ringed plover amoungst these and closer to the waters edge where a few dunlin. They are getting through their summer plumage now and interestingly there looked to ba at least two distinct species together. Its always nice to get out on the sands. Once you are there things settle around you and it all becomes more intimate. The water line on the rising tide to one side of us was providing good feeding for a flock of bartailed godwit along with a solitary knot. The other side had a very nice flock of golden plover. The goldies were just sitting about intent on doing nothing. They werent feeding and none realyly looked like they were sleeping. They were just casually loafing, mostly on one leg I may add. The air about us would fill with rising birds every so often although a cause never appeared. In one group of starlings and finches Tim had a goldfinch. Constantly over us were small flights of goldies and geese. We had had a good collection of shore birds before we headded off to the cars. One last peek over the dunes to the sea produced a pair of red throated divers, an adult and juvenile who obligingly came towards us right to the waters edge afording supurb views, an excellent way to finish the first walk of the season.

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