11 Dec 2011

Extremely wet!

A solo trip to Hilbre this morning saw me leaving home in darkness but at least it was dry! By the time  Irneached the north end of the M53 the heavens had opened and I began to regret my decision to stay over for the tide. After a quick brew I decided sea watching was the order of the day  - despite the poor visibility.
It immediately became apparent there were huge numbers of Common Scooter present and these flew around a bit before settling down between Hilbre & Point of Ayr.
I estimated a minimum of 2000 birds were involved and patience was eventually rewarded with a male and female Velvet Scoter. Other good birds included two Gannets relatively close in that appeared to be fishing like the Cormorants and have a good degree of success. Red-throated Divers and Great-crested Grebes were also logged along with a single Guillemot.

Plenty of Cormorants were fishing on the sea so it was a surprise to find the juvenile Shag that's been hanging around forgoing the fishing for a spot of R & R on the cliff face.
Returning to the Obs cold and hungry I put a saucepan of soup on the stove and stood on the balcony 'scoping the sea. If only I'd stayed at the north end........................three stonking male Velvet Scoters passed close in heading west presumably to join the others on the sea.

As usual the Purple Sandpipers are obligingly photogenic with  up to 9 birds roosting over the tide in two different locations.

As the tide receded it was time to leave but just enough time to photograph one of the two Little Egrets fishing in pools along the reef.

So, despite the inclement weather it didn't turn out to be a bad days birding.

Finch numbers have built up at home and its nice to see a few Greenfinches amongst the Goldfinches and Chaffinches. The local Little Owl has also made another appearance  close to the house and could be heard calling about 100 m from the garden on Friday night whilst a Grey Wagtail appears to be wintering on the pond.

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