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Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Worth the trek?

I haven't been able to get 'out and about', but enough was enough. Having saved up all my pennies for some petrol – have you sen the price of petrol, someone is taking the proverbial! Anyway, I only just cottoned on to the high tides and times and while I fancied Rosall I ended up at Cockerham and environs, thinking it might be quieter. I had not realised all your little cherubs were on holiday and after dropping in at Condor, decided Cockerham might be a better bet – a location I don't know well nor birded previously. As usual it was grey overcast and miserable; by the time I reached Cockerham the sea was well up and all creeks full so I had missed the incoming tide. GREAT.

I set off north along the coastal path and within five minutes had two Rock Pipits, however they were not going to allow me anywhere near and I only managed poor record shots. As I trudged forlornly north I bumped into a kindly gentleman who pointed me in the direction of Plovers Scar with the mention of the Snow Bunting... the reason I had ended up here at Cockerham, so fingers crossed... or needle in a haystack?

Look carefully and you'll see a Rock Pipit and Snow Bunting ... in one photograph!

Snow Bunting (first winter male)

I was fortunate enough, like a fool to spook the Snow Bunting on approach, (maybe that's a bit hard, as I didn't know where it was or where I was looking), but I managed to pick it up more or less straight away... together with two more Rock Pipits and an odd one (5 in one day!). As it might be another 50 years before I see a Snow Bunting I decided to hang around and see if it would return and sure enough I spent the next two hours watching this engaging bird, sometimes the Rock Pipits appeared before flitting off again. So well camouflaged is this Snow Bunting, look away for a second and it is near impossible to find again. Usual coastal birds were in evidence, a skein of about 60 geese headed north overhead, Oyster Catcher, Wigeon, Shelduck and as you can see Redhsank and Turnstone were in evidence. Apologies for the poor pics (and these are the best of about 800!) – the light wasn't good at all and I have tried to show the Snow Bunting from various views and plummage. And finally Pete Woodruff passed on his return journey so having already done the web thing it was great to finally meet – I look forward to doing so again. I may try and add a video but that will take more time and for what it is worth the images can be enlarged by clicking on them. Worth the trek – you bet.

Not sure how well this will work, video is ok on my computer but by the time it is compressed to fit on a blog (automatically) it seems to deteriorate considerably. I'll post in the hope it helps you know what you are looking for!

1 comment:

Pete Woodruff said...

Yes, good to put a face to the name at last Geoff. The SB pics are OK by me, if you think they are 'poor pics' then I'd suggest you're a hard man to please....good quality at least in my book especially in the poor light of yesterday.

Hope to 'bump into you' again soon.