Friday, 16 November 2012

Surreptitious Shooters

Meeting on the Humber bank was a novel experience today for mid-November. It was actually warm and there was virtually no wind. Later, in the lea of a Hawthorn hedge we were plagued by dozens of mosquitoes, which attempted to exact their usual penance! There wasn't a great deal to see on the journey apart from the usual Fieldfare and Curlews in the fields. When we got to the inlet there was a single Bar-tailed Godwit, then a Black-tailed Godwit, with plenty of Redshank and a Curlew or two. A Common or Harbour Seal was guarding the creek entrance. 5 Siskins flew east in the morning, while after lunch 4 Redpolls went east. 

All wildlife pictures (c) 2012 Richard Whateley
Short-eared Owl
It was a bit of a trial trying to avoid the dog mess, and unfortunately Chris actually failed to avoid it completely. Walking along the flood bank we flushed a Short-eared Owl which managed to perform very well, landing on posts, hiding in the long grass, and then flying along the edge of the salt marsh/mudflat border. When we reached the newly fenced-off electrified area another flew up and they flew within metres of each other before going their separate ways. A Snipe called but it remained invisible. In this area in the afternoon a Chiffchaff was in the hedge, which Gordon was able to watch very clearly. 
Black-tailed Godwit

Grey Plover
Bar-tailed Godwit
Common Seal

There was a new YWT fenced off area with an electrified fence, and on the edge of this in the afternoon 2 semi-concealed people were acting suspiciously on the border of the mudflats and the saltmarsh. As we approached they bent down as far as they could in a vain hope to escape our notice.  However, once we had passed their position they thought they were safe and began to appear above the vegetation again.  The light was a bit tricky for us, but once we got past we could see through the scope that one had on a gauze balaclava, whilst the other with a very young face was wearing a typical hunter's cap. They remained in position for the whole 2 hours we were in the area.  As we were leaving, we'd just clambered over the 2nd stile when they let fly 4 shots frightening a Little Egret, but because they were no longer in view we never discovered what their quarry was.  I hope they weren't laying in wait for the male Hen Harrier, which has been favouring the area.
After a very dull few days the sun finally came out, resulting in an amazing sunset back at the foreshore.

The Beautiful Humber!

The Eternal Quest for the Nuthatch!

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