January 22nd   Leave a comment

The storms of the last two days finally started to die down this afternoon. The wind was south-east creating a huge swell and some fantastic breakers off Sauchope. Even the great black-backed gulls were sheltering in a stubble field at Pinkerton – a flock of about 30. It’s really unusual to see them in the fields like the other gull species. There were three long-tailed ducks and 14 goldeneyes on the sea close by the beach in Roome Bay– more signs of the severity of the storm. It can’t have been much fun out beyond the relative shelter of the bay.

Great black-backed gull in the storm

Great black-backed gull in the storm

As I walked past the beach I noticed all of the usual rock pipits up in the air circling about apparently aimlessly despite the wind. The reason became clear. There was a male sparrowhawk on the beach shuffling about next to one of the creels washed up on the strandline. It had obviously been hunting over the beach, disturbing the rock pipits, and I think it must have gone for one of the wrens that often feed along the strandline. And perhaps one took shelter in the creel in the absence of a bush. I didn’t find out for sure as the sparrowhawk flew off in response to me. You often see sparrowhawks hanging optimistically around bushes where their intended victim has taken cover and this looked just the same. I hadn’t thought of the many creels washing up on the beach as being anything other than junk, but they may well provide some useful cover for the small birds feeding there.

Posted January 23, 2013 by wildcrail in Sightings

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