Saturday 30 December 2023

More Cirls

Second-winter Mediterranean Gull off Mudbank yesterday, along with an adult (below).

A pretty non-eventful sea-watch, from the raised beach huts (0800 - 0900) - c90 Gannets, 40+ Kittiwakes, 1 Fulmar, 1 Red-throated Diver and 1 Great Northern Diver.
The regular 10 Pale-bellied Brent Geese were on the Imperial rugby pitch and nearby - 4 Cirl Buntings feeding in weeds near the water's edge on the Imperial recreation ground. This is my first record for this site, though a visiting birder reported one here a few weeks ago.
Off Shelly Beach this afternoon - 40+ Great Black-backed Gulls, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers and a Peregrine.
Mudbank counts included c115 Pintail, 2 Greenshank, 90 Shelduck, 75+ Grey Plover, 12 Redshank, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers, 7 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Great Northern Diver and 1 Rock Pipit. Across the other side of the river  - a flock of c25+ Avocets flying downriver and then switching around and heading the other way. A sizeable Knot flock lifted off Cockle Sands and headed upriver before I could properly count them (I got as far as 50) and I was equally unsuccessful counting Bar-tailed Godwits and high numbers of Dunlin.
A pre-dark look at Blackhill Quarry produced 9 Goosander (3 drakes), 2 Tufted Ducks, 1 Little Grebe, 14 Mallard and at least 1 calling Tawny Owl.
Yesterday - 3 Pintail and 14 Common Scoter from Maer Rocks early on. An immature male Eider was off the seafront (and also off the Warren) and a Great Northern Diver was off Shelly Beach. Otherwise - a couple Mediterranean Gulls off Mudbank.

Male Cirl Bunting - Imperial recreation ground. One of four birds this morning. 

A Peregrine shelters from the strong wind whipping across the estuary. It has been a long while since the local pair used to regularly sit on Cockle Sands.

Great Northern Diver - Shelly Beach.

It's great to get 'up close and personal' with the Pale-bellied Brent Geese. With the pitches presumably too water-logged to play on, the two family parties of five seem to be spending all day on here in preference to the estuary.


  1. Love that pere hiding from the wind, it looks so fed up! Haha

  2. Hi Tom - many thanks. Yep it was really trying to stay out of the wind. Wish I could have got a better photo but it was miles out, on Cockle Sands. All the best. Matt.