Tuesday 29th December 2020

The morning tide was mid-level and rising and so I decided to head to the Sailing Club first, it was also drizzling and so that would offer me some shelter. It was just after sunrise and with the low cloud and drizzle the visibility was very poor. Soon the rain strengthened and with wind coming from the east I didn’t have much protection. I decided to retreat to the car with the engine on to keep warm as the freezing rain lashed down on the windscreen.

After 30 minutes I ventured back out and while scanning the Brent Geese found a paler individual. I had to wait 10 minutes for it reveal itself properly from the long grasses. I was then delighted to see it was an adult Pale-bellied Brent Goose with gleaming white sides. Two populations of Pale-bellied Brent Geese reach Britain, those that breed on Spitsbergen winter in Northumberland and the Greenland birds winter mainly in Ireland. Our familiar Dark-bellied birds breed in Siberia and winter in southern England largely between the Humber and Exe estuaries.

Pale-bellied Brent Goose

The 14 Avocets and 14 Spoonbill were roosting again from DL’O with the Spoonbills surprisingly active. A Dartford Warbler was churring close by and a distant calling Spotted Redshank was the first I’ve recorded for six weeks.

Spoonbill

A brief seawatch produce a fairly close Great Northern Diver but nothing moving and no sign of the Slavonian Grebes. A distant gull with a gleaming white head and dark mantle had me wondering about Yellow-legged Gull but the structure and wing tip pattern weren’t right and I think the dark mantle may have been an artifact of the back lighting.

Brent Geese and Canada Goose photos by Ian Williamson

I decided to head over to P Shore. At the top of P Lane I pulled over to scan a distant flock of geese and after a few minutes I found myself subconsciously repeating a call I could hear ‘jip jip jip’. It suddenly dawned on me that they were Crossbills and luckily I found them pretty quickly, two males and a female. A good record for the site and a patch tick.  

Crossbill

A busy flock of 30 Mediterranean Gull were bathing at P Shore. A Grey Wagtail and a Raven called as they flew over and four Collared Doves were the first I’ve seen in December. I was hoping for a Barn Owl but no luck today.

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