Saturday, 1 February 2014

The Tide was High.....Curbridge February 2014

It was too windy for ringing this morning so after a very leisurely start I headed to Curbridge for a spot of patch listing. This was my first visit to this site this year so I was hoping to add a few wader species to the patch list. Heavy overnight rain meant the river was high and being within two hours of high tide meant there was not much mud remaining, but there was enough. A couple of Common Redshanks were feeding in the creek, with a couple of Mallard and I could hear Eurasian Curlews calling in the distance. I headed to the entrance of the creek and my usual watch point, but access was more tricky than usual due to a fallen tree. A Kingfisher was feeding at the creek entrance and a flock of 35 curlew were feeding on an adjacent field. I could hear some geese but couldn’t see them so I headed further down the estuary to get a more distant but better overall view of the area. A mixed flock of Black-headed and Common Gulls were roosting and bathing on the water.

Two Common Gulls and a Black-headed part of a flock of over 340 birds

A flock of 39 Canada Geese were feeding/roosting on the edge of the same field as the curlew along with a single Greylag Goose. Despite being more distant from my new vantage point I had a better view of the field and was able to study the feeding curlew. One of the birds seemed very small, almost Whimbrel size and appeared to show a central crown stripe and faint supercilium. I watched the bird for a while but was not really getting those clinching views. Despite being very small, and appearing to show the typical Whimbrel head striping, the bill on this bird was too long for Whimbrel. It then vanished over the brow of the hill and I could not find it again.

Part of the Flock of 35 Curlew

I scanned the flock for a while and whilst doing so had a couple of Common Sandpipers land on the creek edge, another new year tick for the patch. I then decided to head back in the hope of a closer view of the curlews. By now it was nearly high tide and a combination of spring tides, strong winds and the recent rain meant the water was very high now. The curlew were out of sight from my vantage point, but were at one point flushed, flying around briefly before settling back down out of sight. There was not much more to report bird wise, I had recorded 41 species with several new additions to the patch year list which now stands at 65. The small curlew was frustrating but hopefully it will hang around and give me some decent views over the next few weeks. 

High Tide at Curbridge Feb 2014

The tide was now very high and if it wasn't for the boardwalks getting back would have been difficult. The Jetty at Curbridge was totally submerged but did not deter a few winter kayakers from landing.

The Submerged Jetty and High Tide Line

As well as the birds there was evidence that spring was just around the corner, Hazel catkins were fully out, and Snowdrops were flowering on the edge of the tide line. New shoots of Lesser Celandine and Bluebell were also evident.

Snowdrops living on the Edge of the Tide Line

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