Friday, 17 September 2010

Dowitching hour

Spent the last hour and a bit of light at Holden Creek this evening. How depressing - it was getting dark by 7.15pm...
Anyhoo, there were a load of green-winged teal and a couple of pintail on the creek as I arrived. A considered check through failed to reveal anything else of note.
Newly arrived were around 40 Brewer's blackbirds, in with the starlings around the farm. Otherwise, there were very few songbirds, other than a couple of golden-crowned sparrows mucking about in the undergrowth.
Taking up my position on the viewing area (you guessed it, the tide was too high to allow a crossing - in fact I even tried to see if the 'winter' route was clear yet but the brambles are still too dense to get through, so I'll have to carry on crossing at low tide for the foreseeable future) I scanned over the marsh. A tight bundle of shorebirds were busy in a small muddy pool. I counted 34 long-billed dowitcher, and single greater yellowlegs and western sandpiper with them. They were quite a way out, but I got a bit of footage of the sewing-machinesque feeding frenzy. As you can see below.
A red-tailed hawk was keeping vigil in one of the dead trees and a lone pileated woodpecker came through.
The Canada geese were feeding in the furthest field, behind the hedge, thus preventing me from seeing whether the whitefronts were still around. While I was scanning through the waders, the steady honk of some Canadas implied a few were taking off, then I heard the lovely call of the white-fronted geese as they joined the airborne flock. I got quite nostalgic at the sound - used, as I am, to the calls of multitudes of grey geese. Lovely. The family party of five, headed out toward the estuary though I suspect they might well be back in the fields tomorrow.  

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