Thursday morning dawned grey with rain. Definitely not ringing or photography weather but after calling at Jamie’s Fish Place I took a look up at Knott End shore, knowing there would be more than a few birds to look at.
With camera under wraps I took a walk about the jetty and then alongside the river as the rain spit and spat, barely enough to damp my enthusiasm, but a prelude to heavy rain promised for later in the day. Almost everyone has been seeing good numbers of Pied and White Wagtails in the last week or two, either reporting them on visible migration counts or as grounded birds. It was the turn of Knott End today with at least 15 Pied/White Wagtails counted flitting about the sea wall, the jetty and the car park area. At least 12 grounded Meadow Pipits too, but no Rock Pipits that I could find yet, the pebbly shore of Knott End being ideal habitat and a regular winter haunt of the species.
Just a lowish tide didn’t bring the waders or wildfowl too close with approximate counts of 2250 Oystercatcher, 70 Redshank, 32 Turnstone, 100+ Knot and 24 Sanderling. Shelduck numbers are really building with 220+ today, in contrast to the Eider with 4 hard-to-find birds out in the grey water of the estuary.
A walk up river produced several more wagtails and Meadow Pipits, and on a telegraph pole 2 Mistle Thrushes, a bird now so uncommon that a sighting becomes noteworthy; possibly they were morning migrants or alternatively a pair or two may be residents of the golf course. There were Chaffinches on the move, just a few crossing the river from the direction of Fleetwood and heading east.
Back at the car the camera was set on ISO800 for the grey light, with a few pictures of pipits and wagtails searching the sea wall for insects. Someone came with a bag of bread and the gulls arrived as if by magic and the tiny birds flew off to a safer spot.
Lesser Black-backed Gull
The forecast is better for weekend with sun and showers on the cards. Let’s hope the experts are right. If so Another Bird Blog will be out and about and reporting it just here.