Sunday, 13 September 2009


After the sunshine yesterday, Sunday 13th turned out cloudy and with a cool easterly breeze. Quite a contrast today to all the recent weeks of blue skies. The tide was on its way out during the morning and the view in the picture above is from the park cliff-top looking out over the mudflats.

A scan of the sea from this vantage point revealed a large group of gulls and terns feeding on a shoal of fish in the distance. Through the telescope this group of about 100 birds were flying around the same area of sea, about a mile offshore. One bird that stood out and instantly recognisable was a gannet, which dived head first into the water several times. The immature bird with brown wings and white underbody, could be seen folding its wings against its body just before plunging into the water. Considering that the Island faces the sea, very few gannets come close inshore and only one or two birds are seen each year.

Other than lots of common terns, not much else of interest offshore other than a great crested grebe and a group of 6 wigeon that flew in off the sea.The usual waders were arriving on the mud to feed, although as more mud was exposed, the waders moved further away from the beach.

In bushes in the park one or two blackcaps, chiffchaff and lesser whitethroat were noted near the pond. Four song thrushes were seen near the park entrance with two birds flying off high east, the sort of high flight that migrant song thushes make. Six house martins flew east past the beach and a few swallows were also seen during the day.

A second visit to the park beach was enjoyed at the end of the day with the tide in. The beach was deserted with the last of the visitors already gone. Not much birdlife to be seen here although a male gadwall with two mallard close inshore was a bit unusual.

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