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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

Low water Goldcliff lagoons at high tide on a scorching hot morning

The water level at Goldcliff Lagoons continues to be really low. Lagoons 1 and 3 appear to have had some water pumped into them but Lagoon 2 is starting to look like Death Valley with large parts of it now completely baked.

The low waters are attracting lots of birds -  and people to watch them. I have never seen so many Little Egrets. There was probably 20+ onsite.

They were feasting on the fish which now have no where to hide. Eels appeared to be the commonest prey.

The light was good and even with heat haze I was able to get some nice pictures.

At long last I saw the Curlew Sandpiper. It was feeding in Lagoon 3. A small pretty bird that in some respects resembles a Dunlin but has a beak that curves and has a reddy chest.

It was quite a distance away so the pictures are record quality at best.

A male Marsh Harrier flew in and caused havoc sending the birds skywards. The Marshy looked magnificent with his two tone colours.

There were lots of bird species to see today. Comprising of -

Little Egrets, Grey Herons, Marsh Harrier, Black Tailed Godwits, Bar Tailed Godwit, Ruffs, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Curlews Sandpiper, Common Sandpipers, Dunlins,Ringed Plovers, Starlings, Knots, Curlew, Whimbrel, Black headed Gulls, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Linnets, Snipe, Sand Martins, Swallows, House Martins,Carrion Crows, Cormorants, Teal, Sheduck, Mallards, Greylags, Canadian Geese, Yellow Wagtails, Pied Wagtails and Avocets. There was a Little Stint at Lagoon 1 but it did now show for me and my friend Paul Joy.

A good morning was had with some great views of the feathered wonders.

Squabbling Egrets

Eel for breakfast

Curlew Sandpiper

Male Marsh Harrier with Black Tailed Godwits in formation


Big flock of birds in response to a Marsh Harrier flypast.

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