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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 sunny morning at Goldcliff

I had an early session of birdwatching at Goldcliff Lagoons on Sunday morning. The heat wave we are experiencing provided amazing light (behind me for a change) so was able to get a clear view of some of the bird residents. The sun has been drying up the lagoons and the water levels are very low in lagoon 1 and 2. This has had the effect of making the birds congregate together some what. On lagoon 2 there is now effectively a gull roost inhabited by a growing flock of Black Headed Gulls.

A couple of week ago I purchased a friends Birding Scope and I must admit I have been enjoying just watching bird behaviour for a change. I find the scope gives me a rest from taking pictures but also allows me learn something about the birds and give me ideas for photos. It also helps to stop me missing things as my distance vision is not as good as it used to be.

Whilst sat quietly at Lagoon 2, I was able to get some nice views of the Dunlins. They are a tiny wading species of birds. They tend to gather in large flocks and fly around in a tight flock when startled. One of my favourites for flying flock shots.

The Redshanks have started gathering in larger flocks and they were busy all morning preening , feeding and flying back and forth.

One of my highlights for the morning was seeing the two Black Swans which have been hanging around in recent weeks. They flew off towards Redbarn and were seen at quite a distance.

My second highlght was when a  Curlew flew into lagoon 2 announcing itself loudly with its hauntingly serene call. I love to hear them , they really are the "Call of the wild".

The Curlew decided to mix it on " Gull Island" together with the Black headed Gulls, Black Tailed Godwits, Shelducks, Oystercatchers and Dunlins. There was also a Ringed Plover feeding and a number of Teal , two herons and a family of  Coots put in an appearance. There really was alot on offer to watch.

The Curlew settled for a while feeding and preening. It called out regularly and I knew that at any minute it was likely to fly off, and it did. I managed to snap a few shots as it took flight and flew straight at me calling loudly as it did so.

After a chat with the local birders I decided to pack my bags and head North of the county hoping to see the Red Arrows ( I will cover that in a separate post).

Curlew Calling

Curlew lift off from Gull Island Lagoon 2

Curlew flying with the sea wall hide behind

Flock of Redshanks

Dunlins feeding

Pair of Black Swans  
Redshanks gathering in larger numbers

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