Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A mixed day. 29.8.2011.

A fine day but with a cool edge to the westerly wind, but thankfully , despite threatening clouds, no rain developed.

Called in to see a friend who works at the RSPB Titchwell Reserve and then commenced to gradually go around the reserve. I watched a Water Vole for ages as it fed immediately within the outer edge of a reed bed.....not something I see that often nowadays given the drastic reduction in its population. As I made my way down the path to the coast I caught a glimpse of a Muntjac making its way across the adjacent marsh in a series of leaps. Suddenly all hell let loose as a Curlew rose in its path, my feeling being that the animal had almost landed on the hapless bird, which took some time to circle around ,uttering its alarm call all the while.

Birds were much as before with perhaps wader numbers altering around. I managed to get a photograph of a Little Stint which conveniently landed nearby and was the first I'd seen this year.

A seawatch showed very few birds on the move, but a Great crested Grebe and a couple of Eider were off shore and then, somewhat surprisingly, a female Long-tailed Duck. A very early bird to return for winter , which I learned later has been around for about ten days already. At that point I learned that the Wryneck seen at Wells yesterday was still around so I made my way westwards. And so it was, present in a few bushes on the edge of the playing fields near the harbout. A very active and showy bird which showed all its plumage details off to good effect. At one point it sat in a nearby bush eyeing up the birdwatchers present before moving out into the open !

As the afternoon was pressing on I went through to the Cley reserve and called in at the reserve's cafe. A little later, and whilst browsing through the books on sale, I found myself standing next to Mike Peacock (RSPB Warden Oronsay) the next island to the north of Islay. Small world, but with the surprising twist that I'd not seen him for about four years despite being a "neighbour".

A seawatch on the rising tide saw a few Gannets on the move , Sandwich and Common Terns around generally and 13 Arctic Skua and a single Great Skua moving east before I called it a day at 1830 hours. Certainly one of contrasts and surprises!

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