I arrived at Aust Warth in the sunshine but by the time I had taken my camera out of the car it had clouded over and stayed that way for the rest of the morning. I was hoping to have more sightings of the short-eared owl but it doesn’t work that way and all I saw was a distant kestrel. However, I did have an interesting chat with Dave Knowles who (with owl in his name and a personalised registration of DK …OWL) filled the vacuum of no owls on the warth.
I moved on to Northwick Warth and found the tide was too far in for waders but spotted a few redshank, a dunlin and wigeon waiting in the pill for the tide to go out.
There were shelduck all over the warth but not really close enough for decent photographs.
I walked out to the Pilning Wetlands with Don Smith and his son (who I had met here last year) who kindly pointed out the peculiar behaviour of the shovelers who were pairing up and circling around each other with their bills immersed in the water. I had never noticed this before.
Shovelers circling their mates
There wasn’t much else around – just some tufted ducks, a little egret, a grey heron, a little grebe and some lapwings trying to impress with their acrobatic flying.
Tufted duck about to dive.
Lapwings trying to impress
A flock of starling flew by.
On the way back I spotted a buzzard on a pole and only had time to take a photo without a tripod before it flew off. Fortunately I managed to spot it again in a nearby tree.
By the time I had got back to the estuary the tide had gone out enough for me to get good views of redshank, dunlin, a turnstone and lots of wigeon.
Dunlin photobombing a redshank
Dunlin showing a lack of interest in my camera
Wigeon in flight
Turnstone breaking its camouflage by walking in front of a wigeon
Redshank and a dunlin
Before getting back in the car a robin, a wood pigeon, a blackbird and a pair of starling caught the limelight.
A very cold but very enjoyable morning.
Click below for gallery of photos from this morning: