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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

A swift trip to Goldcliff

Well I didn't expect to go out with the camera today as the weather forecast sounded awful. However , as it turned out this morning it was fairly good with little rain to speak of.

I decided to go to Goldcliff Lagoons. On arrival at the reserve I came across a female Linnet in the hedgerow. My first sighting of this species so far this year.

In Hide 1 I had a great view of a big flock of Black Tailed Godwits . They are now looking rather dapper in their summer plumage. Surely they will be heading to Northern Europe to breed soon. Its the first time in ages that I have seen them in the first lagoon and they appear to have grown in numbers.

Not long after my arrival I was joined by some friendly birders.
I was grateful when one of them located a Wood Sandpiper using his scope. I managed to capture a few distant pictures that will serve as record shots as that is the first time I can recall ever seeing this species.

The reserve continues to have plenty of birds on offer to see. Redshanks, Lapwing, Avocets, Shoveler, Wigeon, Tufted Ducks, Greylags and Canadian Geese.

Skylarks were singing on high and in the hedgerows Cetti and Reed Warblers could be heard with their noisy repertoire.

A particular highlight of mine today was observing the Dunlins. There was a decent sized flock of them today and when they took to the sky it was fun watching them swirl rapidly around the lagoon.

At one point today everything went skyward and formed a big flock in panic. I was unable to see what disturbed the birds today .No raptors in sight all morning but perhaps it was a Falcon up high, that was worrying the feathered residents of the lagoons.

After a stroll around the reserve near Platform 2 and the adjacent hedgerow the sky became alive with the sounds of Swallows, Martins and Swifts.

Now these are birds that I really struggle to photograph in flight. Darting so quickly like aerial dancers, focusing on them is a nightmare. I think the picture I did grab of a Swift was pretty good in the circumstances.

Linnet (female)

Black Tailed Godwits

Wood Sandpiper (center)

Godwits, Avocets and Dunlin

Dunlins
Dunlin
Swift

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