Saturday 4 January 2020

Sand, Sea and Rain

After a breezy start to the new year, with sustained winds of Force 8/9 gusting Force 10 for much of yesterday, this morning was flat calm albeit overcast with a hint of drizzle.

Whilst having breakfast I spotted a Wren flitting around under one of the bushes having a rummage through the undergrowth. It had a ring on its leg so most likely one of the adults that has been around for most of the year and will hopefully successfully raise another brood of chicks later in the year.

I needed to pop down to the village shop so thought I would pop along to Churchill Barrier No 4 and see what was about. On the way down the hill to the main road I spotted a male Greenfinch in the bushes of Reumuera. It was a welcome sight as this species has been missing from my garden for a number of months now.

On arriving at the Burray end of Barrier 4 I parked up and crossed the road to checkout the Water Sound side first. There were two male Mallards paddling towards the small beach, a couple of Shags feeding out in the bay, several groups of Eiders, and a couples of male Long-tailed Ducks.

Crossing back to the East side, as I wandered through the grassy dunes towards the beach, the drizzle was turning into light rain. A movement out of the corner of my eye caught my attention and revealed a male Stonechat flitting from stalk to stalk in the grass.

A scan at the North end of the beach amongst the rocks protruding out into the water there were six Oystercatchers, 37 Ringed Plovers, 40+ Sanderling (difficult to count these as they ran back and forth as the water washed in and out, seven Turnstones, 10+ Rock Pipits chasing each other about, a Wren and a Hooded Crow.

Out on the water there was a group of seven Mallard, four Long-tailed Ducks and three Wigeon.

In the fields on the cliff top above the rocky outcrop there was over a hundred Greylag Geese and 40+ Curlew.

Although still calm the rain was starting to get heavier so I called it quits and headed for home. Not a bad morning's bird watching adding another 10 species to my 2020 Burray Bird list.

There were reports that a Whimbrel had returned to a known spot behind the Sands Hotel. Will have to check that out next time I'm down there. There was also a report of a Little Auk being seen in Water Sound.

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