April 17th   Leave a comment

It is getting quieter on the shore. I did probably my last redshank survey of the winter from harbour beach to Saucehope and back. There were many fewer redshanks, although still at least seven of my colour-ringed birds, and a higher ratio of unringed to ringed birds suggesting that some of the redshank are actually migrant strangers that are passing through on their way north. There were no curlews and only two turnstones and two purple sandpipers. The latter two species were gaining their summer plumage and may well have been migrants on their way north too. But they both breed so very far north that they may have another 6 weeks to go before they can even think about starting to breed. Roome Bay is also empty of all but a few eiders: the wigeon, mallards and goldeneye have all gone. The female long-tailed duck is still hanging around the harbour at high tide though.

Another thing that has changed on the shore is the shore itself. Have a look at the pebble beach below St Adrians and Castle Walk. It’s a beautiful sandy beach now. There were even some holiday makers thinking of building a sand castle there today and some redshanks later on feeding on the new sandy strandline like on Roome Bay. There is more sand on Roome Bay beach too. I don’t know if it makes it better or worse for the shorebirds generally: probably a bit worse for some species and better for others. That’s always the way with habitat change.

There is a very handsome male reed bunting hanging around the rough ground behind the gorse between Roome Bay and Saucehope. Despite their name, they are happy breeding in that sort of habitat rather than a wetland.

Male reed bunting - on show in the grass south of the houses of Pinkerton, between Saucehope and Roome Bay

Male reed bunting – on show in the grass south of Pinkerton, between Saucehope and Roome Bay

Posted April 17, 2013 by wildcrail in Sightings

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