PHOTODIARY - end of November 2011
Winter evening after a stormy day, Solway Estuary
A midday high tide with a strong gusty wind. At 11.30pm flocks of Oystercatcher, Teal, Wigeon, Mallard and Shoveler with 15 Pintail started to fly west along the, by now, flooding marsh. At 12.15 small groups of Barnacles came battling along into the galeforce winds as they rounded Scargavel Point. The Great White Egret was still frequenting the Saltmarsh dubs.10 Fieldfare flew off hawthorns near the layby west of Bowness. There was a report of a female Smew on saltmarsh edge at high tide.
A day of strong gusty winds with sunshine and showers, some of which were hail. High tide at 12 o clock ... as it came in and substantially flooded the saltmarsh, wader flocks began to pass going west. Oystercatchers were accompanied by small parties of duck: Teal, Mallard, Wigeon, Shoveler and 15 Pintail. Between 12.15 and 12.50 pm, what looked like the whole of the Barnacle flock flew by in small groups, heading into the now galeforce winds, as they rounded Scargavel Point.
Pintail over rough water.
Small group of Shoveler.
Good parties of Teal came along.
Colourful Wigeon joined the movement.
Skein after skein of Barnacles.
Barnacles battling against the gale.
Barnacles flying over the Saltmarsh.
Strong south-westerly winds but milder - mist and rain came in early afternoon. Watched the tide come in and ebb between 11.30 and 1 o'clock . Again skeins of Barnacles (one with a few Shelduck in its slipstream) came by from the Inner estuary, together with small flocks of Shoveler, Pintail, Curlew and Oystercatcher. We took a walk down the Lonning at 1.45pm and were delighted to see the Great White Egret very actively feeding amongst the jungus on the right-hand side of the hide.
There had been a lot of birding activity today on the Reserve and a report came in later of a Pale-bellied Brent Goose having been seen flying with 8 Barnacles at high tide.
Small flock of Barnacles with Shelduck in their slipstream.
Curlew battling it out too.
Winds had eased of somewhat today. High tide about 1 pm. Watched flocks of duck and waders passing westward along the saltmarsh on either side of the high tide. Only a few Barnacles put in an appearance - a Goosander suddenly appeared on a tussock of grass on the tide's edge as the tide flooded the marsh but returned to the water as soon as it started to ebb.
We walked down the Lonning to the hide, after lunch and were able to again watch the Great White Egret feeding amongst the jungus. Two Heron were in close attendance. They were benefitting from the Egret's feeding mode of trampling to disturb its prey. Two Whoopers were seen near the wood and a pair of Mute Swans flew over whilst we were watching. On our way back home a small flock of Barnacles came flying back inland over the Lonning. As we passed the noticeboard in the farmyard we noted that a Short-eared Owl had been added for today.
Small flock of Shoveler at high tide.
Teal making their way west.
Wigeon roughing it.
A solitary Oystercatcher.
Probably a family group.
A Goosander climbed up onto this tussock as the high tide flooded onto the saltmarsh.
Great White Egret backlit by the low sun - RHS of the hide
Heron landing nearby.
Heron were more than interested in GWE's feeding technique - and benefitting from it too!
Skein of Barnacles flying back east over the Lonning.
A grey wet day. Early morning a Willow Tit was feeding on West Common hamlet seed feeders. About 2.30 pm, the Great White Egret was seen amongst the rushes on the flooded wetland in front of the hide. Mid afternoon it flew across onto the saltmarsh and proceeded to feed along the dubs around Scargavel Point.
The Great White Egret striding along the saltmarsh at Scargavel Point.
A catch - the Egret is aware that once the high tide clears the marsh, there will be a new supply of small fry in the flooded areas left behind.
... getting well down in the dubs!
See Community Blog for today entitled "Water, Water everywhere":
A wild cold day with plenty of rain. At 9.30 am 7 Whoopers flew west along the tideline. A quick walk down the Lonning early afternoon, revealed a good number of Wigeon, Teal and Mallard on the 1st Meadow Pool (On the noticeboard, Dave had recorded 800+ Teal on the wetlands). Inspite of the rain Stephen could be seen out in the meadows on the left-hand side of the Lonning, excavating new pools with the tractor and digger - all part of the ongoing ' Lapwing breeding habitat project'. The Great White Egret was still being sighted on the Reserve.
Wildfowl on Meadow Pool.
Stephen working on 'management of meadows for Lapwing'
Sat here in the lounge groaning after Christmas lunch, the opening of presents and the drinking of ‘Festive Spirit’ … you get the drift.
There is a high tide series here on the Solway: big tide coming in at midday, coupled with a fair gale driving the waves high upon the salt marsh and spray flying everywhere - ideal for goose watching.
Sure enough small gaggles of Barnacles heading to the Cardurnock pastures having been driven from their inner estuary marshes by the high tide. Judith, through the open window, managed a few shots of these geese - so beloved of our Campfield Reserve.
Hope you are all having a wonderful day - far too much food and drink and that everybody is ensconced in their own rooms playing with their latest high tech ‘toys’: Dad hopefully, crashed out on the couch and Mum has deservedly gone for a lie down. If you haven’t - we advise you to do so - remember there’s still Boxing day and the New Year to get through!
Bless you all!
High tide backed by a strong wind at midday.
First small skein of Barnacles.
Larger groups followed.
As the tide receded and uncovered the saltmarsh, they were still coming.
Half and hour later a group of stragglers were still battling against the elements out in the middle of the estuary.
Happy Christmas and Good Birding for 2012