Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Forget the fifteen minute rule

One of those days where the wind whips the scope over. But one of those days where the birds are having it much worse than you. Forget all the feeding drivel from yesterday's post, today was just about holing up. The surge arrived just after high tide, so the 6.3 only became about a 6.5, but wave height was enough to cut off Horrid Hill, and drench all the roosts; the waders ran for cover, and the diving birds took to the sheltered bays. For sure, the wave action wasn't huge; it never is, but was enough to disrupt normal behaviour patterns. As soon as the waters were dropping, they started heading for favoured sheltered spots mid-river.

So, instead of loafing, and instead of feeding, they were actually flying; just like a real flippin' seawatch. Shame my chauffeur was only allowing me an hour out, but plenty of time to enjoy the Mergansers and the Goldeneye.

Again, the same game as yesterday. A second birder present, I put him on the two drake Goldeneyes that had just flown in. "Out in the channel separating Nor from Friars'. If you look beyong, they're effectively under the end of the Stoke Crossing bridge."

"I can see them. Too far for me."

Again, we had a nice chat on many things, especially numbers back a few decades. But that too far for me stuck. I found myself apologising for seeing them when I chatted with one of the Rangers. "Goldeneye, that's nice."

"Yeah, but too far for most to enjoy, sorry 'bout 'dat." Flip! Apologising for seeing things. Whatever next?


Last five mins of my recuperative visit saw me scanning Rainham Saltings as they started to reappear. That's where the Great Crested Grebes had come in to ride out the gale. They never get that close in normal circumstances. Books say they hate wind/high waves, and often move when conditions set in. Hopefully tomorrow mornings lull will give them a chance to feed up. Good excuse to count. Again.

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