By godwit its good to see some more waders

Tufted Ducks hurtle past the Snipe viewing platform.


Yet another spell of pretty decent weather in the week followed by the heavens opening up with a deluge of rain on Friday night ready for a turbulent weekend. This has been the pattern of things since Christmas.

I slept late on Saturday morning - a rarety for me on the weekends and I actually arrived at Goldcliff Lagoons a bit behind my usual schedule of trying to get on the patch just before sunrise. As things turned out there would have been little point in hoping for something magnificent at dawn as it was cloudy and drizzling. As I arrived at Goldcliff as if by magic a small gap in the clouds opened up and part of the rising sun showed itself like a great big fireball in the sky.

Sunrise


It looked really ominous to me, perhaps subconsciously its part of my psyche worrying a little about the pandemic. On the flip side, the fact that the sun burnt through the cloud is a good thing and hopefully behind all the gloom things will get brighter for the world eventually.

I trudged off into the reserve through a quagmire of mud. Its the worst I have seen it. Very slippery and muddy.

The first hide is always worth checking especially in the mornings and at this time of year. Things are changing now at Goldcliff. Spring is in the air and breeding season is upon us. I love hearing the noise of the Redshanks and Lapwings as I approach the hide. It fills me with excitement. I can't wait to open the shutters and see what is revealed before me.

On the far side of Monks Island was a small flock of roosting Curlews and quite a few Shelducks. What stood out was three Dunlins. These were the first I have seen this year on the reserve and its good to see that they are putting in an appearance. Soon I expect to see them arrive in greater numbers during the spring passage and I adore watching them hurtle tightly together in their flocks when they get startled.

After a quite exhaustive plod through the mud to the Snipe Platform on Priors, I crept inside and peeked out at the lagoons. I was lucky and did not scare the ducks too much. Not far from the platform was Flossy the Glossy Ibis.

Flossy the Glossy


Close encounter

Goldcliffs resident bird celebrity was feeding on the edge of the water. I was joined by another birder who was overjoyed to finally see it on his third attempt.

I managed to get quite a nice video of Flossy after it decided to settle meters away from me on the grass bank.

Looking across to Monks where the Dunlins had been suddenly a flock of waders flew across the lagoons at pace. Looking at the pictures later revealed several Knot and Dunlins.

Knots and Dunlin


Hurtling around the lagoon were two flocks of ducks. I must admit the first flock looked like Tufted to me and I took quite a few pictures of them as they passed me as I really like my flight shots. It was not until much later in the day on my return home that I realized that they were Goldeneyes.

Goldeneyes ( Female) in flight over Priors



This year we seem to have had a lot of diving species of waterfowl. There has been a lot of Tufted Ducks in-particularly.

Tufted Ducks


I moved on to the Marsh Platform and was really pleased to see that a flock of thirty-two Avocets were roosting together on Priors Lagoon. This is a really good sign and I have been expecting the flock to arrive like they did last year. I scanned the Avocets but could not see any rings or tags on them.

Avocet Flock on Priors

High tide was approaching and the weather started to take a turn for the worse so I joined up with a number of my birding friends and we all sat out the rain in the Seawall Hide.

During the sunny spells, we were serenaded by Skylarks that were singing away above the hide and two males had quite a scrap near the sea wall.

On the return journey around the reserve, we stopped off at the second hide to take a better look at the Avocets that had decided to move there after being disturbed by a raven.

The Avocets in flight


Earlier we had been discussing the fact that the Black-Tailed Godwits had not put in much of an appearance apart from a single bird we had seen on Becs Lagoons.  Well, the hairs on our necks must have been rising as moments after getting comfortable in the hide as what should happen to fall out of the sky? Thirteen Black-tailed Godwits did and they landed on Monks. A number of them were showing signs of summer plumage.

The Black-tailed Godwits arrive.


It's really great to see that the waders starting to appear all over the lagoons. Things bode well for spring passage and breeding season.



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