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Purple on the rocks

  I have the real pleasure of writing my first blog post of 2022 about a trip to Battery Point, Portishead, Bristol to photograph Purple Sandpipers (Calidris Maritima). As many of my readers will know I love waders probably above all bird species and so when I had the opportunity to get some pictures with my good friend Paul Joy of this rare, specially protected and very confiding wader species that winters in the UK coastland I was really excited. Up until this point I had never seen a Purple Sandpiper. They are small waders, bigger than a Dunlin but slightly smaller and less robust than a Turnstone.  They migrate to the UK in the winter from as far away places as Canada, Greenland, Svalbard, Fennoscandia and Russia. They then spend their time along the coasts roosting and feeding on various rocky outcrops. They have a preference for rocks covered with seaweeds where they forage for insects, molluscs and crustaceans. They get their names because of a Purple sheen that can be seen in t

Signs of Spring at last

Despite the crazy weather we have been experiencing of late there are signs of spring finally kicking in. From a birds point of years spring signal the time to find mate and kick off starting the next generation in earnest.

I started the week with an evening at Aust Wharf and watched a pair of Kestrels mating as the sun went down. Yesterday I visited Goldcliff Lagoons and despite the muggy weather it was a hive of bird activity.

The Redshank waders were getting very frisky and I caught a pair mating in front of hide 1.
Lots of birds are pairing up. The Canadian Geese and Greylags are all at it and geeting very squabbly and aggressive with other birds, causing lots of commotion.

The Black Tailed Godwits are starting to look very nice, there plumage is now turning a nice breeding colour and they will soon be migrating to Iceland. I will miss taking pictures of their startled flocks.

There has been Cettis Warblers calling on the hedgerows for a while but I have not been able to get a photo of a single bird yet.

When I did think I was going to finally get lucky when I saw movement along the hedge line it turned out to be an early summer migrant - a ChiffChaff.

Soon our woods will be full of these little birds blasting out their familiar call "Chiff Chaf, Chiff Chaff", that will be a sure sign Spring will be in full swing.

Its been a hard very unstable winter I think so spring must surely starting properly soon..but snow is forecast again!..

Lots of raptor activity again at Goldcliff. Watched a Buzzard run about a field near the reserve. It was quite funny to see it trundle along, its got quite long legs. I think it was eating worms.

My highlights today was seeing my first  Chiff Chaff of the year ,mating Redshanks,the flock of  Black Tailed Godwits and the Buzzard - I have a soft spot for them.

Buzzard

Redshanks

Black Tailed Godwits

Chiff Chaff




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