Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Diving in the Ruff

I was dreading the long drive to the furthest venue of this term. I'm usually pretty unimpressed with the wildlife seen there too, despite this being one of the most popular locations for West Yorkshire birders. The gale force winds didn't inspire confidence either.

We started by sharing cars to a reserve hidden behind a housing estate. We had good views of 6 Ruff here, plus a single Bar-tailed & a single Black-tailed Godwit, which were side-by-side, so were a great model for comparison purposes. At the other hide we saw a pair of Pintail, and a couple of Snipe and a female Sparrowhawk, which became 2 in the afternoon.

Then we went for a walk on the beach but the incoming tide meant we only saw a Great Crested Grebe, some Cormorants, and some huddling Oystercatchers & Turnstones. In the afternoon this scene was transformed, so we were able to add a single Sanderling, some Knot & Dunlin, and closer views of everything else. However, Doug spotted an unusual bird just off the beach, which turned out to be a Red-throated Diver, and another darker individual was soon spotted further out to sea. The first bird gave really good views, and was even seen to catch a fish. At least 3 Sandwich Terns were fishing in the bay, plus a few gulls, but no Skuas.

The morning group also had a walk on the cliff top, where a large flock of Linnets were added with smaller numbers of Meadow Pipits, and a single Rock Pipit. We didn't have time to explore very far and the wind threatened to blow us into the sea, so we didn't spend long there - despite this a Skylark was also heard flying over.

The afternoon was more or less a rerun of the morning, but the beach walk was far more successful, but this was all due to the state of the tide. Next time I have to visit this location I probably won't be quite so reluctant - although the very slow drivers in this area will never go away, I suppose!
Red-throated Diver
A Nice Selection of Ruff
Lovely markings on the back of a Ruff
Showing the thin white line on the back of a Ruff, plus tail markings
Sandwich Tern
Rock Pipit
Dribbling Meadow Pipit
Woolly Bear [caterpillar of Garden Tiger Moth] ??

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