Lots of Mistle Thrushes today, there were two birds at the pines near the cottages, at least two or three moving between Rye Errish and Bergerie Farm and one or two between Park Farm and Park Shore. Mistle Thrush populations are largely sedentary in the UK unlike Blackbirds which are heavily augmented by huge influxes of birds from Scandinavia. You can see the round spots on the belly, dark vertical lines (black and white) below the eye and the pale edgings to the median and greater coverts which help separate it from Song Thrush, the rattling calls also grab the attention.
A Common Seal was resting on the river bank south of the Yacht Club. Despite its name it’s not as common or widespread as the more familiar Grey Seal. Another name for them is the Harbour Seal which is perhaps more appropriate. They are well known for hauling up on beaches and sandbanks in tidal estuaries.
30 Black-tailed Godwit were with around 50 Curlew feeding on the Wigeon Fields. 14 of the Spoonbill picked up from the river and flew past me over to the flooded fields before landing on Venner. Tufted Duck numbers were up again to 32 with a single male Pochard.
A Coal Tit proved frustrating to photograph as it moved down the tree line at Black Water with a mobile tit flock. Eventually it showed nicely near Black Water hide.
The 1st winter Redshank was seen again on Sluice Gate Saltmarsh. Lizzie ringed this bird as a chick in the Avon Valley last summer. I’ve now seen it three times (23rd Oct, 28th Nov and 7th Feb) all within a hundred yards of the Sluice Gate. Great to see that it is wintering here. It will be interesting to see if this bird returns to the Avon Valley this spring.
Avocet numbers were up again, to 20 with the new arrivals including one of Graham’s yellow flagged birds although they were too far away for me to read it. There were around 50 Redwing across the reserve including groups on Droveway South, Spring Meadow and Park Shore.
From the top of Park Lane I scanned down across Park Farm and picked out the Pale-bellied Brent Goose amongst the 500 or so Dark-bellied Brents. The male Kestrel landed on the wires nearby as I sat, apparently well hidden, on the edge of the boot of my car.
The two Cattle Egrets remained at Park Farm. It was quiet again on the sea with an apparent clear out of auks, divers and mergansers. Two Slavonian Grebes remained however.
Some, but not many, of the Mediterranean Gulls are now starting to acquire summer plumage.