One of the local foxes was confronted, on an early morning scavenging trip, by the resident corvids and Shelduck as it attempted to cross an outfall on the saltmarsh. This appears to look like warfare but it is more akin to a game, as all these are old adversaries and look upon it as a diversion to the day's activities of gleening a living from the tideline.
Fox in a quandary.
Testing the water!
Here we go!
It's a bit deep!
Oh dear, discretion is the better part of valour!
Mmm ... and the tide is still coming in!
Back to the Status Quo. Job done - calm returns.
Barnacles are a speciality of the Solway. This group were on the Cardurnock pastures.
Oystercatchers battling with the tail-end of Hurricane Katia.
A typical Solway farm here on Campfield Marsh
Summer Solway and Criffel from Campfield Marsh.
Barnacles on the saltings of the R. Wampool, Cardurnock Peninsula.
Barnacles come in many thousands to the Solway, for the Winter.
The village of Bowness-on-Solway, which marks the west end of Hadrian's Wall and also the beginning of the Campfield Marsh RSPB Reserve.
The village of Drumburgh, overlooking Burgh Marsh and the inner Solway - well known for its fortified farmhouse.
The eastern end of the village of Bowness-on-Solway. This is the western end of the Hadrian's Wall long distance walk - if you like real walking, it's great!
The entry to the eastern end of Bowness-on-Solway village - a welcome sight to the foot-weary hiker ... a great pub just round the corner.
Solway haymeadows with the distant Lakeland fells.
Late harvest on the Solway Plain.
My Solway this morning - Springtime.
The Campfield Marsh Barn Owl, hunting at dusk - a familiar sight. It's a great hunter - this year the pair have reared 5 young. It has been a good vole year, hence the large brood.
Pinkfeet and Barnacles grazing at North Plain Farm, towards the end of Winter.
Solway Corn Stooks - a memory of times long past. It was all handwork in those days ... harvestime could go on for months.
Storm over the Moss with the distant Caldbecks - typical of the Solway raised mosses.
The road along the saltmarsh, with Scotland's Criffel in the background.
Thunder over the peat hags - a wild and lovely place!
The main street of Bowness-on-Solway - a place of habitation since Roman times and, for all I know, before!
Late harvest on the Solway Plain, redolent with the sound of bees and the flight of butterflies.
Whoopers, our winter visitors, on the wetlands at Campfield Marsh Reserve - numbers can exceed 200 at times. Their wild bugling calls, under a winter moon, is a sound never to be forgotten. They can reach upto a 1000 on the Solway as a whole.
Whoopers come in to roost for the night, on the wetland at Campfield Marsh.
Wigeon, the heralds of winter, return to us each year on the Solway. These colourful duck are a wonderful sight and their whistling calls under a winter's moon, is a sound unequalled in the wildfowl world.
Wigeon and reeds in late afternoon sunshine.
Skein of Pinks at sunset
Weather is still warm and sunny. Speckled Woods seen mating today and a flock of about 80 Pinks flew in from the across the saltmarsh and headed off in a south-easterly direction.
Speckled Woods mating. Female (the larger one) seems to have laid an egg.
After flying round haphazardly for a few minutes, they landed on a nearby tree trunk.
Bright and sunny with a strong cold wind. Flocks of Lapwing were wheeling about the saltmarsh and Saltmarsh Pool. A lone Whooper had taken up residence there, too. At 6.30 pm a skein of 24 Pinks flew west along the Saltmarsh.
Lapwing wheeling about in the stiff breeze.
Whooper interrogating a group of Teal on Saltmarsh Pool.
10.30 am - a group of 5 Whoopers were seen flying N E over the marsh. At midday 3 Merganser were swimming in the Channel in front of the hamlet. Walked down the Lonning mid-afternoon. The floodwater on the left held 24 Teal, a Curlew and a Lesser Black-backed Gull and a good number of Lapwing. A Robin, singing its Winter song, followed us back down the Lonning.
Teal having a wonderful time, dashing madly about on floodwater - spray was flying everywhere.
Lesser Black-backed Gull with a flock of Lapwing on floodwater.
Early mist with rain clearing at midday with falling tide. 2 Ruddy Shelduck (possibly hybrids or escapes) flew in and, with other Shelduck, fed on the mudflats, as tide retreated. There was plenty of duck activity generally with Wigeon, Teal, Pintail (8) and Shoveler(24) in evidence. At 1pm a flock of Barnacle flew west over the Saltmarsh.
Ruddy Shelduck (possibly escapes) on tideline
Wigeon and Shoveler on the tideline as it receeded.
Part of a small flock of Barnacles flying west.
5 Whooper Swans flew back over to the Reserve and a Reed Bunting was seen on the hawthorn trees along saltmarsh edge.
A pool had been forming on the marsh, in the corner east of the Viaduct. Two Mute Swans had taken up residence in it lately.
Six Pinks were out in the channel today. Watched them for a while as the tide came in and flooded them off the sandbar.
Eventually they flew off east towards the Viaduct.
A much milder day with a few Red Admirals flying. At 10 am a group of 12 - 15 Whoopers flew south over the Viaduct.
A warm misty day - Butterflies and Dragonflies were still flying. At midday 9 Shelduck flew in onto the mudflats. A few minutes later a flotilla of 38 Wigeon sailed across the channel off Scargavel Point, as the tide was making. A late Swallow could be seen flying along the marsh.
On the Lonning a Robin was singing its cheery song
A few rays of sunlight momentarily lit up the Estuary.
A study of Shelduck
September 2011 Photo Diary
The evocative 'pink pink' was first heard on the 15th, over the Reserve ... returning skeins of Pinkfeet were subsequently seen during the following days.
Rained early but became very warm as sun came out in the afternoon. The saltmarsh flooded at high tide with plenty of wader and gull movement as they were pushed off their usual roosts on the Inner Estuary. The area around Saltmarsh Pool was a hive of activity with Oystercatcher, Blacktailed Godwit, Grey and Golden Plover, Knot, Curlew, Lapwing, Gulls and Snipe..
Knot and Oystercatcher being pushed onto the saltmarsh as the tide came in.
A motley crowd.
Black-tailed Godwit and Lapwing resting in the sunshine.
.Rather oddly a Turnstone flew in - shoreline pebbles and seaweed are their more usual haunts.
Saltmarsh Pool is quite a refuge at high tide ... Lapwings, Starlings and Black-tailed Godwits all using the islands.
Further along a party of Snipe and a Moorhen (juvenile) were also to be seen.
On North Plain Farm Lonning there were a number of differing birds taking advantage of the planted and ripening seed crop.
Meadow Pipit picking about amongst the dried grasses.
Tree Sparrows amongst the ripe Barley.
Young Chiffchaff on the field gate.
Very warm and sunny most of the day from early morning but rained late afternoon. Dragonflies were flying on the Lonning and a Kestrel was hunting over the wetland beyond the hide. Good numbers of duck and wader were reported during the morning in the vicinity of Saltmarsh Pool: 4 Ruff, 56 Snipe, 4 Shoveler and Wigeon.
A male Southern Hawker had been hunting up and down the Lonning and eventually landed in hedgeside vegetation.
Kestrel hunting over wetland meadows.
Had rained very heavily overnight and in the morning, it was a lot cooler with gale force westerly gusts. In between the showers we took the opportunity to have a walk to the hide. Lots more floodwater had appeared and a flock of Shoveler were taking advantage of the pool that had been forming in the meadows near the hide - Swallows were still flying over it. We noted that the strong winds of late had taken a further toll of the trackside Willow. Once in the hide we spent nearly half and hour watching the antics of a mature Heron and two young, seaching for delicacies amongst the rushes. As we came back Stephen was just finishing his rush cutting in the Meadow Pools area (see details in previous blog).
Adult Heron flying into rushes infront of the hide.
Adult heron and two juveniles.
Small flock of Shoveler (12) feeding on floodwater - lefthand-side of Lonning towards the hide.
Swallows were to be seen hawking over floodwater
"Broken Willow further racked by recent gales" - painting by John Rogers
Much calmer milder day. 2 Little Egrets were on the saltmarsh about 1pm, hunting in the dubs. One eventually flew off west towards Saltmarsh Pool.. Met Dave near the workshop. He and Stephen had been out during the morning with the workparty, clearing birch encroachment on the edge of the Moss. He indicated that previously they had all been carrying out a breeding Snipe survey with record numbers for the Reserve of 22 pairs being recorded. There were other reports of 190 Teal on the Moss and a Marsh Harrier seen from the hide, with dozens of Swallows flying over Rogersceugh. Dragonflies and Green-veined Whites were in evidence on the Lonning.
Two Little Egrets on 'sands' beyond the marsh.
Little Egret flying with Gulls near the Viaduct.
One flying off west along the marsh.
Male Common Darter had been flying around the Lonning and finally landed on top of the screen.
Swallows flying over Rogersceugh.
Results of recent rush cutting in the wet meadows in front of the hide.
Very strong gusts from the tailend of Hurricane Katia pushed water well up onto the saltmarsh at high tide (see previous blog)
A group of Shoveler battling against the gale.
The strong winds had eased off somewhat today with not such a swell on the tide. A small party of wigeon flew along the tideline as the tide came in at 1.30pm. Later two Egret landed on the marsh front of the hamlet . Shelduck were regularly being seen on the flats. Reports of a Green Sandpiper on Saltmarsh Pool, 16 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Golden Plover, 18 Grey Plover and Immature Marsh Harrier in the area. A Leach's Storm Petrel was recorded at 17.50 flying towards the viaduct.
As the tide came in a small flock Wigeon flew along the tideline.
Shelduck in flight
Calmer cooler weather altogether, although sunny. Lonning produced Common Darters and Red Admirals flying along the track mid-afternoon. Again two Little Egrets put in an appearance about lunchtime flying along the saltmarsh. Reports were coming in of the return of Pinkfooted geese to the Solway area. Other reports of 3 Wheatear on the grass infront of Saltmarsh Pool and an immature Marsh Harrier on the Saltmarsh with a summer plumage Red-throated Diver, a few Auks and a Manx Shearwater west of the Viaduct. The latter were clearly storm driven birds not normally seen within the estuary.
An overmature Common Darter on Lonning track.
Dull and overcast today with frequent showers. We were surprised to see a Sparrowhawk gazing in at us from the orchard as we drew the blinds early morning. It seemed to be waiting for birdfeeder replenishment activities to commence but after 4 minutes decided to give up. However, it had afforded us sufficient time to get some good shots of it. One is regularly seen around the bird feeding stations in the hamlet but having such keen eyesight they are usually away almost before we are aware of their presence - so this episode was quite a delight to us.
Male Sparrowhawk perched on damson branch.
Day flying Silver Y Moth (widespread immigrant) seen today.
Overcast with rain most of the day. As the tide came in at midday about 1000 Oystercatchers could be seen out on the mudflats. In a brief sunny interlude mid afternoon, we walked to Saltmarsh pool where there were about 50 Teal and some Ruff. Small Tortoiseshell and Green-veined White butterflies were in evidence too.
Oystercatcher feeding on the flats .
Wigeon in eclipse plumage preening on the incoming tide.
Teal dabbling about in the comparative shelter of Saltmarsh Pool.
Small Tortoiseshell butterfly in the area
A good number of Green-veined Whites were still flying.
Shelduck feeding on the flats at Scargavel Point today.
Red Admirals on ripe fruit and seed put out for the birds.
A number of Shelduck had been frequenting the channel at Scargavel Point in recent days. Today at 15.40 as the tide came in, they were joined on the flats near the shore by two Ruddy Shelduck. They proceded to feed there for a while and then off flew west along the tideline accompanied by an adult Shelduck. The Ruddy Shelduck were first seen in the same place yesterday but had not been identified then as such. They continued to be seen here on Campfield Marsh and at Cardurnock every day until 25th September.
Two Ruddy Shelduck with an adult Shelduck on the mudflats.
Shelduck flying west along the 'sands' accompanied by the two Ruddy Shelduck, as the tide was coming in.
Towards evening the calls of Pinks could be heard coming from the estuary. Eventually two skeins appeared flying low over the hamlet in the direction of the Reserve wetlands.
Skein of Pinks flying off the estuary at dusk. These were the first ones we had seen this Autumn.
Heron flying along the channel on the mudflats.
Visibility very poor today. Two Ruddy Shelduck could still be seen from the road at Scargavel Point. Quite a number of birdwatchers were about, presumably trying to get a sighting of them. A Litlle Egret was reported on the Estuary and a Merlin, Peregrine, Kestrel, Buzzard and two Roe Deer from the Reserve wetlands.
Male Black Darter seen on Lonning track.
2 Ruddy Shelduck well out on the channel, early morning. Report of two seen at Cardurnock at 10.30 am. Others reports of 19 Ruff with 40 Pinks flying over the Reserve.
Warm and sunny this morning. A male Migrant Hawker was seen patrolling the track about halfway down the Lonning, eventually settling on nettles. It stayed long enough for us to photograph it. A Black Darter was seen flying, too. There are numerous clumps of ivy in flower all along the track which were attracting many insects on this warm day. Several skeins of Pinkfeet were seen flying high over the Reserve and carrying on south.
Male Migrant Hawker sunbathing on nettle stems low down in the hedge.
A female Black Darter had been elusively flitting about the track but then landed momentarily on these leaves.
Red Admirals, bees and hoverflies amongst other insects, were enjoying the nectar from these ivy flowers.
Skein of Pinks flying high over the Reserve going south.
A hot sunny day with temperatures up to 26 degrees. At high tide, Saltmarsh Pool showed a good collection of birds: good roosts of Oystercatcher and Curlew up on the saltmarsh and Teal, Shoveler, a Little Egret and a Heron all using the Pool.
Oystercatcher being pushed back up the marsh as the high tide came in.
Heron fishing in the pools.
Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies and numerous Hoverflies were feeding on nectar from a single piece of Ragwort growing on the edge of the Layby.
Robin was cheerily singing from a sapling overlooking the Layby - perhaps it was expecting titbits from visitors!
Very warm and overcast in the morning but the sun came out in the afternoon. Walked along the marsh road to Saltmarsh Pool about 2.30 pm for the high tide - this high equinoctial tide had flooded the saltmarsh substantially. Again there was a good collection of Oystercatcher, Curlew, Grey and Golden Plover, and some Shelduck to be seen. Saltmarsh Pool held a good numer of Teal, Shoveler (c 50), Snipe (24).
Flooded pools and saltmarsh.
Still hanging on.
Oystercatcher and Curlew being pushed onto Saltmarsh Pool by the high tide.
A party of Shoveler on flooded Pool.
A group of Snipe using the islands on Saltmarsh Pool.
Snipe in amongst the rushes. They had been preening and flying about generally, before settling here.
Report of a small flock of Black-tailed Godwits (c 9) flying over Saltmarsh Pool and a Ruff being seen there too. In the warm afternoon sunshine, 3 Speckled Woods were seen in gardens in the hamlet, nectaring on Lychnis and Apple Mint flowers.
Speckled Wood on Apple Mint - the first we had seen in the area this year.