This morning had been going quietly until Judith spotted an email from Frank Mawby: there was a huge flock of Barnacles on Whitrigg Marsh – the largest he'd ever seen in Moricambe Bay. This called for action stations and within 10 minutes we were in the car heading towards Whitrigg.
On arrival at the sharp corner in the road which gave a very good view of the whole marsh, we beheld this amazing assembly. Frank had estimated that there were 9 – 10,000, so we made no attempt to count but were just busy photographing them from the car with the long lens – so as not to disturb them. They did, however, seem restless with small groups jumping up and down and then settling. But generally speaking, the flock seemed relaxed and were split into half a dozen groups. We observed three leucistic specimens amongst them, which stood out very easily. There appeared to be no Pinkfeet with them.
It would be interesting to know why this large number had descended here? Might there have been shooting in the area over the weekend that had made them restless! There had been a reasonably high tide but not unduly so and wind conditions were calm.
Good to see such large numbers gracing the Moricambe Bay area with their presence.
Link to Flickr video: http://www.flickr.com/photos/46441928@N07/11179224703/
John Howard's latest exploits:
"I managed to get a couple of hours in yesterday afternoon (28 11 13) at Musselburgh. The light wasn't good but the sea was calm and I was chuffed to get these photos. The Long Tailed Ducks kept having a fly round then coming back to the same area and we could hear them calling clearly. They were just a little far for good clear shots but it was nice to see them. The Red Throated Diver was more obliging and came quite close to the sea wall."
Cold easterly wind with intermittent sunny spells. Norman indicated that Whooper Swans had been coming into roost in the evening for several days now.
Stephen topping the rushes before wetter weather descends. Will accommodate grazing winter wildfowl and spring breeding waders.
A good collection of Pintail (67), Shelduck and Mallard have been showing on the high tide.
Roe Deer grazing in our garden.
Plenty of people out on the Reserve today, enjoying the early sunshine.
The Robin's cheerful song added to the mood too.
A perfect Autumn day brought out the best in wildlife, from Roe Deer to Hen Harriers ( two of which had been sighted from the hide). There was also a relative throng of visitors all the way up to the hide and some even travelling across the moss. Teal were flying in and out of the pools and good flocks of Oystercatcher were on the tideline at high tide.
A male Roe Deer sauntering along the Lonning between visitors.
Oystercatchers on the tideline.
Two Moorhens have started to wander across from the Reserve, regularly, to feed under our garden bird feeders.
Weather warming up a bit. Dave had reported seeing 10 Whoopers on the Reserve. Several skeins of Barnacles were seen flying west along the estuary. Late morning a Little Egret put in an appearance on the saltmarsh going from dub to dub and then eventually flying back towards the Saltmarsh pool.
One of the small skeins of Barnacles flying west.
Little Egret taking off from one of the dubs.
A very warm sunny day with a slight southerly wind and intermittant showers brought the wildlife out. Thousands of waders and gulls were inhabiting the estuary and providing quite a spectacle. There were good numbers of Teal, with Shoveler and Pintail in their midst, back over out on the wetlands. Even Black Darters and Silver Y moth were flying. Later in the day at 5.30, six Whoopers came into roost on the meadow Pools.
Thousands of waders (mostly Oystercatchers) in the estuary corner near the Viaduct.
Oystercatchers being pushed in by the incoming tide.
Female Black Darter in the sunshine.
Rained on and off for most of the day. A few Red Admirals and a large dragonfly were flying in the warmer conditions. A few skeins of Barnacles were in evidence flying west along the estuary. Derrick West reported having seen 2 Blacktailed Godwits on the Saltmarsh Pool.
Red Admiral enjoying a sunny interval.
A Cormorant on the marsh edge watched on by an expectant Great Blackbacked Gull.
Strong northwesterly wind. Dave recorded several thousand Barnacles on the marshes of the outer estuary with about 300 near Pasture House. A visitor recorded watching a Hen Harrier hunting the wetlands in front of the hide, for a good half hour and had counted 6 Little Egrets on the marshes between Port Carlisle and Saltmarsh Pool (1).
A fine still warm sunny day, much to the Thursday's workparty's delight. Two large water troughs were being commissioned as planters and a plastic tub converted into two more smaller ones.These were filled with previously saved mole soil and were being planted up with bulbs.
The builders had been back to complete the corner of the barn adjacent to the Wetlands Centre. This had previously been put on hold until the Barn Owl's young, which had occupied this building, were fully fledged.
On the Lonning, Red Admirals were clustering on the Ivy flowers just opening and a few Common Darters flying. The hedgrows were exhibiting a good showing of berries.There were by now a few Wigeon showing on the Meadow Pools. Plenty of birders were out and about.
Planters in bird garden.
An over-mature Black Darter on nettles on the Lonning.
A pair of Mallard on the Meadow Pools.
Feathers out on the wet meadows confirm that Whoopers were coming in at night to roost.
Wren on Hamlet wall.
Finishing the barn adjacent to the wetlands Centre by inserting the corner stones.
After several very windy and rainy days the wetlands had filled up substantially and in the region of 1000 ducks were frequenting them: Teal, Shoveller, Pintail and Wigeon. The Hen Harrier was very much in evidence too. A small flock of Long-tailed Tits could be seen flitting along the Lonning hedge and a Little Egret was moving about the saltmarsh.
Rain had returned today. Dave recorded up to 2400 Teal, 33 Shoveler, 14 Whooper Swans, a Peregrine Falcon and a Hen Harrier on the Reserve. Silver Y moths could also be seen flying today.
Holly berries - signs of Winter approaching.