Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Activity at the harbour

Christmas Eve: what a windy day at the harbour!  But it's a great time to see Knot and Dunlin in flocks of thousands perform a fantastic flying display within touching distance!  Every year I see them here around this time.

As the tide comes in the birds sit on sand bars in massive flocks and as the bar begins to be inundated with the tide, they take flight and perform a starling like dance in the sky, illuminated by the low sun and flashing dark and light as they turn as one, before settling down on a higher sand bar until the next time!

When sitting on the bar the size of the flock can be deceptive - in fact you could miss them completely and mistake them for a rocky beach.  But closer inspection shows well over 2,000 of them!

But when in the air you can start to appreciate just how many there are, and they make a fantastic whooshing noise as they fly overhead.

Trying to focus in on a few birds can be a bit hit and miss, but it is possible....

Other things to keep an eye out for at this time of year are Purple Sandpipers, Red Breasted Mergansers, a solitary Bar Tailed Godwit feeding on the West beach next to the harbour wall (see my previous post) and Snow Buntings.  Daily visitors at the moment are Widgeon (they are small ducks and sit on the water in flocks of around 30 to 40), Eider Ducks (anything up to 30) Scoters (a bit further out at sea) and of course Nairns's own Brent Geese - which feed on the rockpools in flocks from 30 to 80.

Happy Christmas - and a healthy 2014 to you all.

1 comment:

  1. nice shots. have a good new year when it comes. all the best too you both