Monday, 13 November 2017

Birding the north shore; Grain Oystercatchers, 13/11/17

I needed a holiday. Where better than the north shore, and Grain Foreshore Country Park?

Today's mission; count the Oystercatchers out of the Medway. All too often I concentrate on birds coming in, but a comfy cushion at the blockhouse really appealed, and the tide turned not long after after sun up; perfect.

The early morning departures were possibly birds from the first roost just south of Grain Light, where the concrete promenade ends; first dog walkers often disturb part or all of any roost here. Walkers can continue south along the Inings wall to Cockleshell hard, and my watches from Queenborough opposite have shown there are three or four morning regulars there as well; pre- 09:30  flights could easily be accounted for by such flushes.

The Dolly Bank started uncovering just after ten, but the flats to the north-west of the village start uncovering twenty minutes or so before that. Certainly the Oycs seemed to know this, with the birds moving out from around that time.

Only a few of the flights could be said to be large, around the three-figure mark, but the total by the time the flats were more than half uncovered had broken the four-figure mark. More had stopped short on the Medway flats, so a longer stay could have increased the total to levels more usually seen on a rising tide.

Relatively few other species were involved in the flight; Redshank and Dunlin were noticeable, Grey Plover and Curlew had to be worked for; throw in a handful of Turnstones and Sanderlings and it had been a good morning. 

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