Thursday, 16 February 2017

Seaside Birding, Gibraltar Point

  This week we should've been in North Wales enjoying Starling murmurations, Choughs and maybe my first Hawfinch.Unfortunately due to my continued health problems, 3 days away and travelling so far deemed a bit unwise so instead we opted for a much closer trip.The plan was a night in Skegness including a day at Gibraltar Point Nature Reserve.
  When we arrived the visitor centre/cafe was yet to open and so the car park was only sparsely accommodated.Only a few cars with dog walkers getting ready for their walks (I still don't understand why dogs, even on leads should be allowed on Nature Reserves.Yes, I am a dog lover but not everyone adheres to the "on lead" rules as sadly proven at a local reserve where a Roe Deer was fatally wounded by an attack from a dog left OFF the lead.RIP Daphne :()

  Anyway back to the Point (Gibraltar that is).A couple of Little Egrets flew over us as we made our way to the Jackson Marsh hide.

  Jackdaws called overhead and Magpies and Mistle Thrushes foraged in the fields.
 Mistle Thrush

  The lagoon was full of bird life.Lapwings, Teal, Wigeon, Snipe, Bar-tailed Godwits and Curlew were all on show.

  A cacophony of sound from the sky signalled the arrival of hundreds of Brent Geese as they wiffled down into the nearby field.These were soon followed by a skein of White-fronted Geese, PInk-footed Geese and then a small group of 14 Barnacle Geese, waterfowl heaven. :)
  Brent Geese

  White -fronted Geese

  Pink-footed Geese

  Barnacle Geese

  The walk back to the car produced sightings of Skylarks and Corn Buntings and another Little Egret in a muddy ditch searching for food.

  We then headed off to Skegness seafront to find food of our own. :) After lunch we checked in to our B&B (an absolute bargain night away for £35) and then returned to the reserve at around 3.30pm in hope of some Raptor sightings along the saltmarsh.Linnets and Reed Buntings alighted the bushed around us but the Raptors were proving harder to find.
  A very distant shape emerged from the late afternoon haze and stayed very distant.I was sure it was Harrier-esque and our new friend David agreed.He had come over from Nottingham for the day and then the 67yr old told us how since his wife's death 12yrs ago he travels the country by train looking for Birds Of Prey.I mentioned the RSPB Raptorwatch at the Dee Estuary in a couple of weeks time and he was very interested in attending so we may see him again there.
  A shout of delight "Barn Owl" came from David as we all turned to see the beautiful owl fly by along the tributary before disappearing out of sight into the next field.It made the old man very happy, David was delighted too ;) He then left to catch his bus as we hung around but no more sightings bar the Brent Geese and Shelducks on the marsh.
  Barn Owl (photo by Majella Fox)

  The wildlife sightings hadn't actually ended though as while driving from the reserve car park I screamed "Stop the car, Kingfisher!" No, it's not my pet name for my partner Majella ;) but on the roadside pond a Kingfisher on a partly submerged branch.I started getting out of the car to try to photograph it but the only other car in the reserve car park decided it was time for them to leave so we had to move our car further off the road to let them pass by which time the Kingfisher had said Goodnight and vanished.
  I got back in the car, said some choice words about the people in the other car and then another 100 yards along the lane shouted "Stop the car, Fox!" This is actually my partner's surname but that's not what I meant lol.A stunning Fox was peering from around the field hedge.I managed a couple of photos before it checked me out and trotted off down the field edge and across the road, a real life Fox-trot ;) 

  All in all it was a great day away with plenty of wildlife to see, especially after a housebound January due to my health issues.If you head to Skegness for the seaside make sure you go South from the seafront and check out this fantastic reserve at Gibraltar Point :)
  Sunset at Gibraltar Point.(photo by Majella Fox)

Many thanks again for reading my blog :)