February 15th   Leave a comment

The redshanks at Roome Bay today resorting to the cliffs in the absence of anywhere else to roost

The redshanks at Roome Bay today resorting to the cliffs in the absence of anywhere else to roost

Last night we had about 17mm of rainfall. We can have months where this is the total rainfall. A month’s rainfall in a night has been a theme throughout Britain. But at least we haven’t had 170mm which is the story in some places. It was a relief this afternoon for it to be relatively still and spring-like, with the house sparrows chirping away and robins tuning up. There were a lot of gannets passing far out flying out of the Forth, probably blown in by the strong southerlies of yesterday, which is another sign of spring.

The storm of yesterday left a huge swell coming straight into the shore. It was a zero beach high tide again and the redshanks were roosting halfway up the cliffs. As with two weeks ago it is well worth a trip down to Roome Bay on the high tide to watch the gulls and ducks feeding in the crashing surf. The goldeneyes are pretty spectacular diving through the breaking waves. My daughter commented that they must all be feeling cold, especially after we both got our wellies full of water after a foolish attempt to walk on the rapidly disappearing beach. I’m not sure birds do feel cold as such. If they have enough food then they can keep warm, so I bet they just feel hungry as it gets colder. Feathers are great insulation anyway and the ducks are all waterproof. Their feet are another matter but there is little flesh to get cold on a bird’s foot and they have a clever “counter-current system” of adjacent blood vessels so the warm blood descending heats up the cold blood returning to the body. I think the goldeneyes were enjoying the waves this afternoon.

I’ve been watching the eiders in the harbour. Roger Watson has now got almost all of them trained up to feed on fish scraps from his hand. He says they now come up and tap on the side of his boat to get fed.

Drake eider - they are at their most handsome at the moment

Drake eider – they are at their most handsome at the moment

Posted February 15, 2014 by wildcrail in Sightings

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