Monday, 20 October 2014


It has been fairly quiet of late and despite putting in some time early last week when weather conditions had produced numerous Bonxies, plus the odd Grey Phal and Gannet on local waters, my patch failed to produce anything of such quality.

A piece of good news is that a work party managed to clear all the tall vegetation from the spit on the 11th.   This has created some damp grazing for the geese, but also Wigeon, which have begun to increase in number - I counted 38 on the 15th, but this will undoubtedly rise.  Teal, Shoveler and Gadwall are also increasing as the season progresses.

On the 14th, while I was waiting for the seabird extravaganza to begin (not!), there was an obvious westerly movement of Redwings.  Having only seen my first of the Autumn the previous evening, it was great to count 1,213 birds flying over during a 2 hour period in the morning.  I didn't even get there that early so probably missed lots during the post dawn period.  They were travelling in flocks of generally 50-70 birds, but the highest noted was 130.  A single Golden Plover also flew north during this session.  A smaller movement of 210 Redwings was seen on the morning of the 15th.

Snipe numbers have actually dropped off since the spit was cleared, presumably because their cover has now gone.  Having seen 16 birds on the 4th, I haven't seen more than 5 since, but I'm still hopeful that a Jack will pay a visit.

Gull numbers are still quite low, but should start to increase as there is now more space for them to gather.  Best birds recently have been a 2nd winter Yellow-legged Gull on the 18th:

Also this interesting intermedius/fuscus type LBBG:

It was on the back of the spit and fairly distant, but stood out due to:
1. Darkness of mantle
2. Still seemingly in summer plumage, with a clean white head
3. Daintiness and smaller size (look at the graellsii to the left) and domed shape to head

It didn't open its wings or move from the water whilst I was there, so I couldn't see its leg length or more importantly whether there was any contrast between the mantle and wing tip and whether the bird had started its primary moult yet.  A good indicator of fuscus is that it should not have started its primary moult, whereas graellsii and intermedius should have done.  However, there have been a few claims of fuscus in the country recently, so I wonder whether the northern range of intermedius might look like and behave more like fuscus.  It doesn't help this bird though, as I didn't see it well enough and haven't seen it since - hope it returns!

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