Saturday, 16 January 2010

16th January 2010

The rain had moved on by the time observers arrived this morning. They were greeted with a cold brisk southerly breeze but that quickly dried out the island.

The Brents were much in evidence today but several medium sized flocks well dispersed made counting difficult (see right), however, a single first winter dark-bellied was found with at least 120 pale-bellied birds. Wildfowl was very much the order of the day with Wigeon (12), Pintail (12), Red-breasted Merganser (9), Common Scoter (100) and a superb count of 39 Scaup - mostly seen on the sea-watch.

Two sea-watches (before and after the tide) produced some excellent counts but nothing out of the 'ordinary'. 62 Red-throated Divers and c40 Great Crested Grebes were good counts at any time of the year and the Scaup was also noteworthy.

Large numbers of birds congregated on the North End of Middle Eye (see below) during high tide and there were several good counts of waders including 5,000 Oystercatchers, 8,000 Knot and 70 Ringed Plover (not all on Middle!)

The Purple Sandpipers were again sheltering out of the wind right outside the sea-watching hide (see below left and right). Please try not to disturb them over high tides by keeping away from the very north west corner, just over high tide.

Passerines were well represented with a single but very vocal Rock Pipit at the North End and thrushes were still very much in evidence, as was their prey with many hundreds of empty snail shells discovered near to rocks which had obviously been used for smashing! At least 10 Song Thrushes remain, as do 6 Blackbirds and 7 Redwings.

However, the highlight of the day was a passage of Skylarks coming from the West (North Wales) and passing eastwards over the island or low over the sea (see left) in small groups throughout the morning totalling 131.

A single Snipe flew around the island and may be one of the birds that has been present on and around the Old and New Ponds for some time now.

PSW, SRW (Photos by PSW)