Sunday, 14 December 2014

The Home Patch

Today we had a group out on our home patch of Lytchett Bay in an hour and a half's walk we recorded 53 species in just that short time.  We started almost immediately with Bullfinch and Goldcrest and a Cetti's Warbler.  Walking out to the bay added several of the other common species like Robin, Blackbird, Blue and Great Tits, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Magpie and Jay.  As we were exiting the wood I picked up a movement to my left and searching a small birch tree found three Reed Bunting, which are alway nice to see.  Once out at the bay we set up scopes and scanned intently to see what we could find.  A Redshank was the first which noticed us and decided we were too close and took flight giving a very loud alarm call, living up to its old name of 'Warden of the Marsh'.  This unsettled a few other waders and enabled us to see a hidden Greenshank as it few off, and it alerted the Sika Deer out on the marsh to our presence which quickly disappeared into the reeds.  A Raven was seen distantly over the trees to the west and Wigeon and Teal were drifting offshore, an odd Black-tailed Godwit and Curlew fed along the spartina edged banks.  Further out along the main channel Redshanks, Dunlin, Oystercatchers more Curlew and Black-tailed Godwits fed.  A flight of Shelduck passed along the Holton shoreline and then we found three pairs of Red-breasted Merganser, a regular winter visitor in the bay in small numbers. As we moved on around the path I picked up a large raptor flying along the edge of Otter Island which turned out to be a female type Marsh Harrier. 

Unfortunately due to the rather waterlogged path a few of the group had to retrace their steps the rest continued on with me.  Mick found a single Avocet and I a pair of Gadwall, along with more of the species "we had already seen.  'The not wearing wellies' group added a pair of Green Woodpeckers and were watching a wintering Chiffchaff when we joined them to continue on around to the Border Road viewpoint.  Here we had a large charm of Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch and then four more Bullfinch, a male and three females.  From the viewpoint the whole group were able to watch the Avocet and Gadwall, after this we headed home for coffee and mince pies, this ended a very nice walk.
Male Bullfinch digiphone scoped today © Nick Hull

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