The Swifts seem to have left :-C Last ones were seen and heard screaming on Wednesday 7th. Just 14 brief weeks to enjoy these fabulous birds :smoke:
There HAD been a lot more activity the previous few days before this and large groups screaming across the skies which was wonderful to see and hear :t:
As is customary for me on December 25th I head out for a morning's birding whilst Neil sleeps. I almost headed along to Boulmer but 'something' said Stag Rocks....perhaps the glorious sunshine would show up some nice birds (ie velvet scoters) amongst the usual common scoter rafts.
Parked up in the first car park and scanned the shore and was immediately drawn to a TINY bird amongst some Black-headed Gulls. My first thought, as my heart started thudding, was Phalarope!!!!! :eek!: Had a look through the scope and again through the bins and thought ''Right....need to be on the beach!!!'' so whizzed along to the main car parking area next to the rocks. Another look had my hands shaking...definitely a phalarope but which one? I approached as close as I could without actually being IN the sea and drank in this beautiful bird.....my first ever Grey Phalarope. Did a quick sketch and description and then tried to get some video footage on my digital camera.....all the time cursing myself for, yet again, not carrying the video camera that Neil bought me LAST Christmas!!!
I watched the bird for 30 minutes as it fed in the shallows. It was quite flighty and kept flying up as waves came in but always returned to the same area which was directly opposite the car parking area.
Still not quite believing my luck I then headed over to the lighthouse to have a look for possible velvet scoters, grebes, long-tailed ducks etc. Lots of Red-breasted Mergansers, Cuddy Ducks, Red-throated Divers and a few rafts of Common Scoter out to sea but nothing else to bring on the palpitations :-O
I decided to head back to the car and have another look at the phalarope and met another birder, lovely guy from Yorkshire, so asked him if he'd seen the bird. No, he'd been watching some Velvet Scoters in the bay behind. So I pointed the phalarope out to him which he was well chuffed with....and so was I as I love to share good birds with folk :t: I had some fantastic bright views through his Swarovski scope (think I'm gonna have to rob a post office - I need one!!!) and he then found a Red-necked Grebe which was a year tick for me o
I left Stag Rocks at 12.45pm and the phalarope was still pottering about in the shallows directly opposite the main car parking area.
137: Great Northern Diver ~ approx. 30yds offshore behind lighthouse.
Popped up to Stag Rocks again today on the off-chance of the phalarope still being present and my being able to capture some decent images on the video camera. According to a small group of other birders the phalarope WAS seen this morning by someone before it flew off. Certainly no sign of it at 3pm :smoke: A close up Great Northern Diver more than made up for it though :t:
138: Grey Plover ~ 5 amongst group of bar-tailed godwit, ringed plover, sanderling, turnstone and oystercatchers. Probably more further on but a couple marched past and threw a ball for their dog right in amongst the flock!!!!!!! :C Bliddy idiots!!!!!
Weather started to deteriorate at this point and I headed back towards the car. Must be getting soft in my old age because my ears were actually hurting with the cold!!!! :-C Time to start nicking one of Neil's hats? :-O