Old Friends and New Failures

I arrived to find the barriers still up at the western entrance, not a good sign as there were to have all gone by Friday. I went down to the building in better weather than I had been expecting and the day improved as I saw a very fine adult male marsh harrier hunting over the reedbed. I knew it was to be a big spring tide today so I headed off the see what was on the marsh and to see how many of the harbour birds were pushed off the islands as the tide rose. There were good numbers of brent geese grazing the fields, I know they are common here but I still enjoy watching them.

grazing brent

grazing brent

I found a number of colour-ringed birds including several old friends that were ringed at Farlington ten or more years ago and have been returning each winter ever since. One such is 6X, surely a candidate for sponsorship by someone? More correctly it is R6GX, that is red 6, green X a unique combination that identifies this individual.

6X brent

6X brent

6X was paired but had no offspring, not too surprising as there ar every few young birds this year. I then spotted R2GX a female goose and it did have a juvenile with it.

R2GX brent with juv

R2GX brent with juv

At the Point the rising tide had pushed the waders close in against the wall giving good views and I grabbed a quick shot of these dunlin.

dunlin

dunlin

I also heard and then saw a whimbrel as it was pushed off the mudflat and flew off to Bakers island to roost. Whimbrel almost all winter in Africa, so this one is well north fo the usual winter range, although there are usually one or two in Hampshire each winter.

Arriving at the repaired seawall section it was disappointing to see that a good bit of the back slope repair has already washed away, given the nature of the material and the near certainty of the sea spilling over during the winter this was not a surprise, but given the great deal of upheaval we have had to endure over recent weeks for it to be failing so soon is a real blow.

new seawall eroded

new seawall eroded

The tide was well up by the time I got to the Lake, where high levels meant there were no many birds, but looking into the Harbour a flock of at least 30 avocet were in a tight group swimming out the tide.

avocets swimming

avocets swimming

I went back to the Building for some early lunch and then off again as the tide reached its maximum, as I thought the islands were almost completely submerged.

high tide over North Binness

high tide over North Binness

Lots of the birds from the Harbour had come onto the Marsh and along with them a very big female peregrine, here keeping potential snacks in view.

peregrine and lapwings

peregrine and lapwings

At the Deeps there was a modest wader roost, but some of the birds were on an island close to the seawall allowing particularly good views. In this shot there are grey plover, knot, dunlin and turnstone.

wader roost

Heading back north I spotted the red-breasted goose in the brent flock, I had briefly seen it earlier from the Building way off on the Main Marsh, it certainly stands amongst the rather dull coloured brents.

red-breasted goose with brent

red-breasted goose with brent

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