Thursday, 23 December 2010

Lapping it up at the lighthouse. Wed. 22nd.

I spent the most enjoyable 90 minutes birding for some time late this morning. A trip down to St. Marys Lighthouse seemed in order to see which birds have been displaced by the cold conditions. A quick neb on the wetland brought the sighting of a solitary Moorhen, slipping and sliding on the iced over water. I headed directly to one of my favourite spots at the end of the promenade. As i covered the few hundred yards from the car, looking over the railings, my eyes were drawn to a stunning Golden Plover. The light was good and this creature looked radiant. In amongst the browns and greens of the rocks and seaweed it was, well , golden. I continued on and dropped down to the beach, to the waters edge, found a dry rock and plonked myself down. In the words of Bob the weatherman, "it was nithering". But i sharp warmed up as i watched the Sanderlings scuttling to and fro, in amongst feeding on the wrack. A Black-tailed Godwit, Redshanks, Turnstones and a Lapwing were also feeding at the end of the beach where it meets the first rocks. If the Sanderlings had made me smile the Lapwing made me stop in my tracks. Just look here.............
...........isn't that lush? ( double click for more detail)
This bird stole the show. It hung around for 10 minutes or so. As i sat i scanned out to sea and there was a raft of Teal and Widgeon. Over 100 in number with a few Mallard in tow on further inspection. By now i was frozen to the core so had to move on. As i climbed the stairs back to the prom i noticed a number of birds at the base of it. First a Grey Wagtail, then a couple of Rock Pipits. A Ringed Plover was picking at the seaweed as was another Lapwing alongside a Redshank.
From upon high looking down to the rocks now, leaning against the railings lots of birds could be seen being slowly pushed in by the advancing tide. What was slightly strange was that they were not in huge flocks, as they quite often are, but scattered around. Other species seen but not already mentioned were Cormorants, in the water and standing wings open on the rocks. By far the most numerous at this stage Oystercatcher with just the one Curlew in amongst them. I was about halfway along the prom and heading towards the small bay to the north before i thought i might do a spot of Bunting hunting when my luck ran out. The sky had been slowly darkening and suddenly the light went and within a few minutes the snow started to fall. In no time it was whiteout conditions. Time to leave but i had lapped up stunning sightings of a LAPwing and not the LAPland Bunting as hopefully expected.


  1. Fabulous lapwing - perfect lighting. You must have all our lapwings down there that are refugees from snow-covered Weardale.

  2. Cheers Dick, a slightly overlooked bird i think. This individual looked stunning in the light.

  3. There weren't as many Lapwing as i had expected Phil. Mind you, the blizzard curtailed my visit so i only got halfway along the rocks.

  4. Hi John. Sounds like you had a wonderful day and the photo of the Lapwing is beautiful. :)

  5. Awesome Lapwing, Merry Christmas.

  6. Cheers Cain,
    Nice to hear from you. Hope you have gotten back from uni for xmas. Back on the patch, as frozen as it is.

  7. Lesley,
    A star.........well you were 'till you went missing. GRRRRR.
    I did thank you untill the snowstorm cut it short.

  8. ......and a merry xmas to you Bob.
    Always nice to see your comments. Enjoy your birding in the new year.

  9. I agree that Lapwings are overlooked; but then I'm rather biased!

    St. Mary's always has something of interest. A lot to do with the mixture of habitats methinks.

  10. I totally agree with everything you say Mr. Vanellus.
    My favourite time of year with the Lapwings is in the spring when they make their fantastic call. I love hearing them up in the hills whilst out walking. I tend to give St. Marys a miss when it could be busy ( summer/ bank holidays/ etc) but it was very quiet yesterday. I always enjoy my visits when i'm there however and i think it is exactly what you say about the various habitats.