Friday, 19 February 2010

Causing a Disturbance

Dying Roe Deer
Barn Owl
This session was originally planned as the first Friday session of the new term, when it was especially timed to coincide with the high tide at lunch time, so both am & pm groups would benefit from the proximity of the waders. For some reason, we were snowed off! Unfortunately, this re-arranged event meant that high tide was c.8.30 in the morning – both sessions missed it. Wader monitoring was taking place & they recorded (if my memory serves) c.2000 Bar-tailed Godwits & c.140 Black-tailed Godwits, and in addition, the ornithologists logged a male Hen Harrier, 2 Short-eared Owls, 20 Twite, and a Little Egret. Needless to say, none of the raptors were seen by either of my groups, but the pm group were able to add a distant Merlin, as we travelled to the venue. Both sessions saw a group of dark, bouncing finches, which were probably the Twite – we managed to count 49 on the wires, but could see no details of plumage & couldn’t hear them either, so we can’t really say we definitely saw Twite. The views of the waders weren’t brilliant in the light conditions, but we did see Grey Plover, confiding Knot (5) & a single Dunlin. The morning was interrupted by the sight of a bedraggled Roe Deer, which we were told had a leg hanging off, and the nearest farmer was being searched for to put it out of its misery. The morning also had a distant Peregrine heading towards Kilnsea. I was invited to enjoy my most sophisticated lunch hour since I’ve been doing this course – very enjoyable! In the afternoon we did have 2 Little Egrets and better views of the waders, as well as some converse with a Lesser Spotted Ornithologist. He had more sense than us & was viewing the birds from the comfort & warmth of a car! I didn’t want to ruin the wader monitoring, but we hadn’t yet enjoyed any good views of the waders, so I asked if it was OK for us to walk back on the floodbank with the sun behind us. Luckily, the man from Del Monte, he say yes – he would just put us down as a disturbance!!! We wouldn’t have had the good views of the Knot, Dunlin or Brent Geese without his forebearance – thanks! A last minute Barn Owl lifted the spirits of the by now windswept and shivering crew.

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