Monday, 9 January 2017

Anyone for Football?

        A visit to Low Newton on a fine Winter's Day is usually a pleasure, though when we arrived yesterday the large number of people and dogs on the beach didn't bode well for birding along the tide-line! Twenty-three Whoopers in the fields behind the scrape soon caught our attention; the edges were  busy with Dunlin, Redshank,Curlew and Lapwing plus Mallard,Teal,Wigeon, and a few Shovelers on the water- but nothing more than the usual suspects! Newton Pool was fairly quiet, a few ducks, a Little Grebe and one Snipe.
              We soon headed off to the 'Football'.... more precisely Football Hole........ a lovely semicircle of sand and rock facing east to the open sea just north of Newton Point. Little groups of female Common Scoter, typically twos and fours were scattered round the coast as we rounded the point. Our first surprise was a beautiful Redwing  perched on the rocks- whether just arrived (very late) or thinking of departing (very early) or just resting, we cannot say. Our next surprise was to watch a Short-eared Owl fly in off the North Sea and head inland low over the dunes doubtless looking for suitable prey. Excellent.
               The northern end of the bay had a fine collection of diving ducks busily feeding in the corner, which was catching the best of the wave action. We eventually counted six pairs of Goldeneye,  a similar number of  Eiders and four Long-tailed Ducks (sadly no drakes). The final bonus as we headed back round was a Red-throated Diver close in to the rocky shore indulging in a bit of preening. Another little moment of magic.

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