Sunday 28th February 2021

Ian told me about a Song Thrush with a damaged left leg he had first seen by the water trough in the autumn and who had survived the winter. I managed to find him myself this morning, he was actively feeding and his leg didn’t seem to be causing him too many problems.

Song Thrush with damaged left leg

Winter Linnet numbers are much lower than in the autumn and the smaller number of males were now starting to sing. A tight flock of 25 Black-tailed Godwit wheeled over B Water and three Bar-tailed Godwit were in the high tide wader roost off Inchmery. I find that their lovely pink bill-base is the easiest way to pick them out at this long range.

From the Sailing Club I could see 17 distant Spoonbill on JV. They flew over to DL’O scrape and then on to the estuary. I later saw another two Spoonbill more than two miles away at P Shore. I’m not sure if they were different birds and so I’m not sure if the total number was 17 or 19 (which would be a record).

Spoonbills photo by Ian Williamson

61 Shelduck on the scrape was also a high count. Mediterranean Gulls were calling and flying overhead looking great in the low sun with several of them sporting full back hoods.

Mediterranean Gull

I checked through the distant gulls which roost and wash at Inchmery. It’s a tricky business as they are more than a mile away and a slight heat haze didn’t help. I counted 35 Mediterranean Gulls and 20 Common Gulls and two larger ‘black-backed’ gulls, all the gulls were swimming. I watched the two larger gulls for half an hour and was eventually satisfied that they were Lesser Black-backed Gulls, a patch tick. Eventually they stood on a small raised area of mud and showed off their intense yellow legs confirming the identification. This is the start of a small spring movement although few come through NO.    

Great Northern Diver and Lesser Black-backed Gull (range of 1.25 miles)

I heard a distant Spotted Redshank and 30 minutes later I was pleased to see two birds swimming and wading in deep water at the back of DL’O. Although they winter here this is only my second sighting in the last 3 months.

I headed over for a few hours at P Shore. Earlier on in the morning I had seen one of the two Pale-bellied Brent Geese out from the Sailing Club but here there was an individual much closer amongst a group of 100 Dark-bellied Brents on the sea. They were probably taking refuge from a Marsh Harrier who I later saw quartering over their normal roosting fields.

Pale-bellied Brent Goose

I walked as far east as possible to the fence before the beach house. A Great Northern Diver was close in and two Slavonian Grebes were further away opposite MM’s house. On G Marsh there were 12 Redshank, a Greenshank and 2 Spoonbill.

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