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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

Ibis seeing you

This morning I was at Goldcliff Lagoons before first light. I sat in the cold listening to the incoming noise of the tide. It was drizzling and yet again another gloomy dark Saturday. I really am looking forward to some brighter weather.

The reserve was quiet. I was the sole bird watcher. I like it like that sometimes. Its good to just sit and listen to the noises of the wild and the wind.

I patiently waited, scanning the lagoons from the seawall hide. I wondered whether I would be lucky again and get to see the Glossy Ibis

There was a flock of Tufted Ducks , Gadwall, Shoveler and Mallards on Priors ( Lagoon 2). There was a solitary Wigeon, which was a little strange as last weekend there were hordes of them

The most numerous species was Shelducks. There was well over a hundred today, and for the most part they were gathering on Becs ( Lagoon 3).

A fly past of a big flock of Black Tailed Godwits was good to watch but otherwise all there was to see was dabbling ducks.

All of a sudden it was chaos. Ducks were quacking in alarm and launching themselves into there air in all directions. I scanned the sky's looking for a Marsh Harrier. The wildfowl were swirling into a flock and it was hard to focus on anything. Then I saw it .

A big black silhouette against the grey sky. There it was , I could see the Ibis.

The local bird residents obviously thought it was some kind of raptor as they reacted just like it was a Marsh Harrier. The smaller ducks whistled and quacked in complete pandemonium The Shelducks formed a big flock that swirled back and forth over the lagoons and Tufted Duck hit the turbo speed button and made a fast exit.

The Ibis turned this way and that. It really did not know what to make if it all. It gained height flew in circles over the reserve. Tried to join the flock of Shelducks who did their best to avoid it treating the visitor like a pariah.

It then did one last circle as if trying to find its bearings and then headed off towards the Saltmarsh.

I would love to see this bird again in good light for a change.

Glossy Ibis

Glossy Ibis and Shelducks

Black Tailed Godwits

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