Thursday, 25 October 2012

Hilda's Muriel

On Thursday we had a walk along the Humber estuary. As we waited for Chris in the car park plenty of Fieldfare and a few Redwing were spotted collapsing into the hawthorn bushes around the fort. The miniature lighthouses were flashing, presumably because of poor visibility, although its the brightest its been all week. Alan suddenly spotted in the far distance between the 2 lighthouses that the air was swirling with birds. They were thousands of Golden Plovers. There were a few Curlew at the waters edge and 6 Wigeon, but the birds were in rather short supply.

No Comment necessary (c) 2012 Richard Whateley
 Wigeon (c) 2012 Richard Whateley
 Golden Plover (c) 2012 Richard Whateley
 Grey Plover (c) 2012 Richard Whateley
At the tip of the old flood bank we saw quite a variety of waders. Jean spotted & correctly identified a Turnstone, but there were also a few Bar-tailed Godwits, a dozen Redshank, half a dozen Dunlin, and 30 Lapwing. We had just started to head back when I spotted a Swallow, then another and another. In total 6 Swallows were heading east.

 Turnstones (c) 2012 Richard Whateley
 Curlew (c) 2012 Richard Whateley
 The 'Maybe' with Humber Bridge
 The Grimsby Tower with Golden Plovers
In the afternoon the tide was coming in, but was still a long way out when we visited. We counted 150 Black-tailed Godwit, 112 Knot, and 8 Bar-tailed Godwit. We were standing near the breach when suddenly I spotted a Peregrine steaming in from the south-west. It made a bee-line for the Golden Plovers, and although they took some time to see it they all escaped. This remained the case even when a second smaller Peregrine see spotted by Eric all joined in on the action. After several stoops and swift changes of direction they failed to catch a single bird. However, one Peregrine moved quickly north, as it has spotted that a Merlin had just caught a small bird. The Merlin relinquished its catch, but the Peregrines seemed a bit fussy about picking something up from the estuary mud, and it took 3 attempts before it carried away the prize.
On the way back a Pipit flew up from the main path making an unusual 'tsskk' call. It was larger and paler than a Meadow Pipit, but still seemed to have white in the tail and in the wing. Although a similar colour to a Skylark its wings were much narrower than the large wing area of a Skylark. On returning home and playing the sounds of a Richard's Pipit and an Olive-Backed Pipit, the latter seemed a much better fit. Hopefully, someone is going to check out the area tomorrow, to see if they can relocate this intriguing bird.  Finally, in a Hawthorn bush near the entrance to the fort we found a Goldcrest, although it was shy about coming into the open!

Peregrine - the bane of Golden Plovers (c) 2012 Vince Cowell
 Merlin on Mudflats

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