Monday, March 31, 2008

(not) Spring 08 holiday, day 1, part 2

We'd sat out two prolonged wintry showers in the hide already and the weather looked set fair for a while. We could see the next storm but it looked a good way off. We decided to head up to the sea wall and from there around the perimeter of the reserve.

From the sea wall we could see large numbers of Brent Geese either feeding or flying off to their roost:

Helen noticed a small brown bird hopping around on the path in front of us. As we approached it flew further along the path then hopped into cover. The second time it repeated this we worked out it was a Twite, our first 'new bird' of the holiday :) I tried to take a decent photograph but the light was fading fast, so only managed a 'record shot', which proves the identity of the bird but isn't good enough to share...

The reason the light was fading so quickly was soon apparent, as we were hit by a prolonged horizontal sleet-shower. We struggled against the really quite fierce winds to get off the exposed sea wall and under cover of some trees at the far end. Another couple caught out were jumping about and seemed to be really enjoying the storm - nutters! On reflection it was fun it just didn't feel like it at the time.

We headed back around the reserve to the hide to both dry off and to watch the waders coming in to roost. This picture shows a flock of Dunlin, with some Oystercatchers, flying into the roost:

here they have started to settle:

and here they are set for the roost, with the Dunlin in front and the Oystercatchers to the rear:

It really is quite moving watching hundreds, possibly thousands, of waders coming into roost. The reserve is really quite a small space, supporting an abundance of life. I wonder how much more plentiful this would be if we could secure some more 'elbow room' for our rapidly diminishing wildlife? Deeply contented we headed to our B&B.

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