|sunrise on Christmas Day - Ivan Lakin|
For those whose festive break plans to see family and friends were scuppered by movement restrictions in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there was some consolation in the form of a glorious morning that broke with bright tangerine skies that drew many onlookers with phone cameras to the seawall and welcome in the new day. Calm, crisp and clear; the sea was flat and floating about on it were 47 Great Crested Grebe (with another in the estuary); three Red-throated Diver, three Razorbill, the same imm Great Northern Diver and a Gannet. With minus temperatures overnight across much of the country, some waterbirds were on the move with >100 Dunlin in off, seven Pintail (plus a pair in the estuary corner), some Dark-bellied Brent Goose, seven Wigeon, three Teal and a Shoveler all in off during the first hour of daylight.
Perched on seawall was the colour-ringed '632' Scandinavian Rock Pipit and another two un-ringed birds foraged in The Bight; only one petrosus Rock Pipit was seen today.
Main Pond saw the return of five Shoveler; also two ♂ Mallard and a few Water Rail and Moorhen. The Siberian Chiffchaff and a Firecrest were along Butterfly Ride/ Dead Dolphin Wood, and also in the woods was a high count of nine Great Tit plus single-figures of other tits, four colybita Chiffchaff, four Goldcrest, three Chaffinch, two Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Sparrowhawk and a Bullfinch.
Most of yesterday's Greenfinch were absent but 45+ Goldfinch were still present and mobile with at least four Siskin with them. Two Raven and two Rook cruised overhead.
The tide took its time to rise and despite recent rains, observed height was for the most part less than predicted due to the dominant anticyclone (centre is 1042 mb). Some 315 Dark-bellied Brent Goose were off Starcross but only 18 or so were within the site boundary today; another 152 Teal, another 13 Wigeon, six Red-breasted Merganser and the female Scaup was again present in the estuary corner. On the rising tide were 103 Turnstone, 43 Redshank, seven Sanderling, five Greenshank and larger numbers of regular waders. A Curlew with blue, yellow and black colour-rings was a locally ringed individual. Among the gulls were c.320 Black-headed Gull, 25 Common Gull, six Great Black-backed Gull and an adult Mediterranean Gull.
Wildlife news: distinctly smaller individuals (juveniles?) in a pod of 11 Bottlenose Dolphin leapt acrobatically clean out of the water at times and frenzied breaching as a tight group, back and forth across the bay this morning, seemed to involve hunting fish and social interaction.
Merry Christmas to all.
|not exactly a snow-covered shovel-handle, but it is an obligatory Robin|
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