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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

The first fifteen minutes of my day (1 Viewer)

Andrea Collins

Former member - no longer active
West Shore, Walney Island, Cumbria, UK.

Low tide, weak early morning sunshine with light winds but decidedly chilly. The water's edge is dotted with waders as usual although it's still a bit early for the big flocks yet.

Lots of Oystercatchers, Curlews, Turnstones, Common Redshank and Ringed Plovers. A couple of Knot stand on a rock at the water's edge. A Grey Heron and a Little Egret poke about in the rock pools. A flock of Dunlins rushes past followed by a similar sized flock of Sanderlings which settle at the waters edge and start feeding in the entertaining way Sanderlings do.

I try a quick count but they are a bit jumpy and are soon off only to settle again just a short distance away. I make it about 250. Not too bad for this time of year.

Suddenly, all the waders are flying. A quick scan around reveals a female Merlin flying sedately along the water's edge. She's not in a hurry and just leisurely circles round out to sea. The waders soon settle again.

I scan across the rocky scars looking for other waders but instead pick up a Peregrine flying fast about a foot above the rocks. I didn't see her coming and neither did any of the waders but she just speeds past fifty yards away and disappears across the island.

I have a scan around out to sea. A flock of Common Eiders are heading north followed quickly by two small flocks of Common Scoters heading south. Something on the water rearing up on end and flapping its wings turns into a very nice winter plumaged Razorbill.

I look a bit higher and spot some gulls harassing something that clearly isn't a gull. It looks raptor-like. It takes me a while to find it with the scope. Short-eared Owl heading in to shore accompanied by five gulls, all wearing different plumages though all Herring I think. Something lands on some driftwood on the beach just in front of me and voices its disapproval at my presence. A lovely male Stonechat. The gulls meanwhile have lost interest in the owl which shows no signs of playing their game as it continues leisurely towards shore and passes overhead heading east.

Hmmm, Merlin, Peregrine, Short-eared Owl and a nice selection of waders. Not a bad start to my day. I look at my watch. Fifteen minutes since I arrived and set up my scope. Not bad at all.

Admittedly the rest of my day didn't quite live up to the high standards of the first fifteen minutes but it wasn't too shoddy either.
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
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