Yesterday we ventured the furthest north we are going this term. The long drive seemed to deter quite a few participants, as the turn-out was lower than average, but luckily there was nothing average about the birds. To land-locked West Yorkshire birders this area is the favourite of many, but to those of us in the east we tend to take the coast for granted!
The highlight for the morning group was probably the female Sparrowhawk, which kept up a running battle with Crows & Magpies. Sometimes they instigated the resumption of hostilities, but at others she harassed them first - it seemed rather a nervy way to spend your day. However, we found this was only a morning ritual as the Sparrowhawk failed to appear for the afternoon group. The group were also thrilled to see 2 Barn Owls around the nest box - one was definitely a youngster, so it looks as though they have been successful in this particular area. There were 3 species of Gull bathing: Herring, Black-headed & a single Common. Most duck species seem to be almost out of eclipse now with fine examples of a Shoveler, the ubiquitous Mallard & plenty of Teal. There were single Bar-tailed & a Black-tailed Godwits, which were great for comparison purposes, but otherwise waders at the inland location were rather thin on the ground. A pair of afternoon Snipe spotted by Jim were a welcome addition.
To increase the wader count the pm session regrouped on the beach, where we were lucky enough to get a very good view of a confiding Purple Sandpiper, Turnstones, Dunlin, a few Knot, Oystercatchers and a single Redshank. In the sea itself we spotted single Red-throated Divers & Great Crested Grebes, but several Cormorants.
It was high tide at the end of the morning session, so we tried Parish Wood for the first time. We didn't see or hear much in this new plantation, but did find a family party of Long-tailed Tits, a couple of Bullfinches, and heard a Yellowhammer, and a Meadow Pipit, but the best birds in this area were nearly a dozen Skylarks, which were both heard & seen
Sparrowhawk & Carrion Crow