Saturday, August 3, 2013

Sunny Saturday

Now that August is here both waders and terns are migrating through with increasing momentum so with a tide due 10am I decided to give sunny and scenic Knott End a bash this morning. This west coast isn't the best for sunrises, but sunsets can be spectacular and the photographic light often inviting. 

Tide at Knott End

Sunset - Knott End looking to Fleetwood

Long before the tide turns to head upstream and fill the channel between Knott End and Fleetwood there are thousands of birds picking through the distant mussel beds. Large gulls and Oystercatchers form the myriad bulk with a mix of smaller waders and Black-headed Gulls making up the remainder. As the incoming water buries the muddy, rocky and sand strewn islands the birds fly off in various directions to look for food elsewhere or perhaps to roost. 

Natural England - “Mussel beds have a particularly important role where they occur on soft seabeds, as they provide a hard surface in otherwise muddy or sandy areas. This attracts and supports a greater range of marine life than would otherwise be found there. 133 different animals and plants have been recorded in blue mussel beds, including seaweeds, anemones, barnacles, sea snails, crabs, starfish and worms.” 

Post-breeding time means there are huge numbers of our common and largely ignored Herring Gulls together with much smaller numbers of Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Lumped as one this morning gave a count in excess of 1000, how's that for a non committal estimate? 

Herring Gull

The Oystercatcher count reached 400+, most heading upstream and 180 or more staying on the shore. At least 140 Dunlin also travelled upstream towards the Barnaby's Sands roost, as did 25+ Redshank, 45 Curlew, 7 Ringed Plover,1 Bar-tailed Godwit and 1 Whimbrel. The Whimbrel had hung around for a while searching through the near shore before a procession of early morning Knott End sun-seekers sent it too scurrying upstream. The Turnstones are back, the most approachable of our wader set, and I almost missed the four of them as they fed quietly at the busy jetty when most everything else was gone. 

Whimbrel

Dunlin and Ringed Plover

Turnstone

A small roost of terns pre-tide with 15 Sandwich Terns and 3 Common Tern. Other bits and pieces – 1 Eider, 2 Pied Wagtail, 8 Linnet, 1 Swift, 14 Swallow 

Talking of sun here's a picture of the grand-kids' giant Sunflower in the back garden and grown from the debris of a cleaned out bird feeder. The flower now measures some 8½ inches diameter. 

Giant Sunflower

Linking today to Camera Critters and  Anni's Blog.


16 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

love the whimbrel's stalking stance. :) LOTS of seabirds there!

i have volunteer sunflowers growing along my pond where i scattered bird seed and hen scratch for the ducks and turtles. but they're much smaller than yours. :)

eileeninmd said...

Phil, beautiful sunset shots. What a pretty beach! The shorebirds are lovely, the Whimbrel and Plover are two of my favorites. Wonderful post and photos!

Snap said...

I love shorebirds and loved watching them when I lived on Galveston Island. I miss them so I really enjoyed your post. Wonderful wimbrel.

Huldra said...

So many beautiful and crispy birdpictures. I love the sunset pic :)

Carol L McKenna said...

Great shots of the shore birds ! ~ Happy Weekend to you ^_^

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi Phil Fantastic sunset. Love all the wader shots. all great shots.

Ken Schneider said...

What an abundance of waders! The water is so high in my neighborhood that there are no mud flats and they are dispersed throughout the Everglades.

Gary said...

Great sightings!! Love the sunflower. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Carole M. said...

another great outing and I love the gull and the turnstone images

Gunilla Bäck said...

Fabulous post. I love the shorebirds. I don't see many of them on my walks.

Gordon said...

I like knot End phil, but its a bit of a ride to get there, its where I got some pics of Black Redstart.
I enjoyed your post, all the best Gordon.

Christian Perrin said...

It's funny how the Herring Gulls don't mean much to UK Birders, as they fascinate us Aussies! We have small gulls the size of your Black-headed Gulls here, so to have your seafood inspected by a giant steroid version of a gull can be an event for even non-birding Aussie backpackers. I myself loved the sound that they made - that classic noise heard in every movie set near the coast! It's even quite an impressive looking bird as you've captured it in your photo.

HOOTIN ANNI said...

I know for sure I could sit there for hours until it's completely dark and the stars come out....that area is pretty, and an extra special plus is all the wonderful birds.

Great photos.

PS...I will have to remember that, Groove Billed Anni!! ;o)

HOOTIN ANNI said...

This is Anni @ I'd rather b birdin'...just in my personal blog admin today [Hootin' Anni]. I'm too lazy to switch. :o)

Mary Howell Cromer said...

From your gorgeous landscapes, to your sunny looking Sunflower, the Turnstone, Plover, magnificent Gull, all really fantastic presentation, as always Phil. So you think 1,000 for your count, and how are you at counting pickles in a pickle jar and candy in a candy jar...guess that would make for good practice.
How do you get your numbers anyway...had to ask;').
Have a happy Phil~

TheChieftess said...

Beautiful!!!

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