Sunday, 24 October 2010

Raptor raptures

The forecast wind and rain was pretty much over and done with by the time I raised my head from the pillow this morning, so after a bit of essential domesticity, I headed down to Holden Creek for the dropping tide.

The place was teeming with green-winged teal, plus small numbers of American wigeon, mallard and pintail. There were far more wigeon there at this time last year. Equally, there were good numbers of long-billed dowitchers present into November, while today just one was on the creek. 
The mixed goose flock was in the far field and, once again partly obscured by the hedge, and accurate count wasn't possible. I could see at least 48 cackling geese and 54 white-fronted geese.

A nice surprise came in the form of a male American kestrel, hunting along the fence-posts (pictured, typically poorly) - I think this is a pretty late date for this species, though I believe small number do over-winter on the island.
Other raptors in the area included a juv northern harrier, juv peregrine, 3 red-tailed hawks and several bald eagles.
The call of a pectoral sandpiper alerted me to a single bird overhead. It did several circuits of the marsh and creek, before deciding to carry on south.

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