Sunday, 7 March 2010

Spring is springing!

We had a lovely walk along a very calm sea front, with binoculars in hand, but no telescope, enjoying the warm sun on our backs and giving us hope that spring in around the corner. The sun attracted people from all over the area to walk the beach with their families and their dogs (yes - more dogs! We actually observed someone clear up after their mutt, so well done them). But, where were the birds?

The sand bar to the west of the harbour wall was full of gulls – all three of the more numerous ones (Black Headed, Herring and Common); but on closer inspection we spotted 23 Widgeon foraging among them. Of course we had our friendly Oyster Catchers with their distinct call but even they were small in numbers.

We did see the local Turnstones feeding on the mud flats in the harbour – 19 of them in total. And a couple of Heron struggled in to get some height, possibly full after an ice free lunch at last!

On the way home and up The River Nairn we saw a number of Carrion Crows and a solitary Goosander bathing as a local fed the squabbling Mallards, who were soon swamped by the Herring Gulls swooping to the food ahead of them. One other point of note; 73 Wood Pidgeon fed in a field further down river, just south of the town

In the past week the skies have been full of skeins of geese – mostly Pink Foot, but the Brent seem to have left the beach for another year.

More later. Seamus.


  1. Thank you for a very interesting blog. I now know so much more about the local birdlife and was pleased to spot a gooseander which prior to you're writing I had referred to as 'that little duck thing' :)

    With regard to dogs. Apart from owners who do not clear up after their dogs I'm sometimes dismayed when I see dogs almost encouraged to chase birds. In the recent very cold winter weather I witnessed one owner gleefully tell me her dog was so happy as it raced up and down the dunes chasing all the small birds, I don't think the birds appreciated the dogs actions

  2. Thanks for the feedback. The Goosanders seem to have made the mouth of the river and up to the road bridge their permanent home - which is great! I too have witnessed owners encourage their dogs to run amok among the waders on the beach, which is distressing. But the birds do seem to safely fly away and settle down a bit further up the beach, and on some occasions return when the nuisance has gone. I often wonder how much precious energy is lost in this endeavour to feed safely and so it is annoying to see the thoughtlessness of the owners (particularly when I am just about to focus on the birds, but they up and fly further away to safer sands!).

    I hope you continue to enjoy my musings.