I headed to the beach first. Sea watching was a little quiet other that a steady stream of gulls heading west. As on Thursday it was mainly Black-headed Gulls with a few Common Gulls, Mediterranean Gulls and Herring Gulls.
The highlight of the sea watch was a pristine black and white Razorbill heading east. I’ve seen auks on all of my last three visits which is amazing although I heard recently that the east coast was seeing lots of auks close inshore with many dying from starvation. I hope that this isn’t the reason for the recent spate of auk sightings here.
The only other birds of note were 17 Pintail appearing from mid channel and then heading towards Black Water. I checked the busy flock of 17 Turnstones, perhaps they may include a Purple Sandpiper one day.
The clearance and enlargement of the flood just to the west of the boardwalk has created a bare area of ground which attracts Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails.
A group of Reed Buntings perched nicely near the Viewing Gate. In their post juvenile partial moult Reed Buntings often replace all of their coverts and tertials (as well as their body feathers) and so there is little moult contrast in the wing making it difficult to age them. However, their tail feathers are usually retained and so are the typical pointed and worn juvenile feathers as shown by the bird pictured below, which is therefore a 1st winter individual. The body moult will include adult head feathers and so the lack of black feathering here also mean that this is a female.
There were lots of Blackbirds and Robins around, no doubt many of these will be migrants. This Robin shows the pale tips to the greater coverts and the pointed tail feathers of a 1st winter.
Over on De L’Orne Scrape 161 Lapwing were roosting strung out along the islands. Last year numbers really started to build from early November peaking at 601 by the end of the month. A Spoonbill lifted up from somewhere nearby and circled back around and landed on the scrape, my first for nearly three months.
A pair of Tufted Duck were on Venner, the first I’ve seen since the breeding female left with her seven off spring in late August. Black Water was full of Shoveler, 55 in total, with them spread out right across the water. The female Scaup was still present although favouring the right hand side where the water is deeper.
I stopped at the Reedy Ditch hoping for a Short-eared Owl but no luck.