Blog Archive

Saturday 22 August 2020

A Day at Cliffe Pools

 Its been a long time and it seems to have taken five months of COVID-19 restrictions to bring me back to this blog.  Don't expect it to last!!

However, Cliffe is a good place to start with over 40 species seen including some autumn migrants, I am only mentioning my personal highlights here.  

Six Barn Swallow were feeding low over the fields, as during the day we saw probably up to 30 individuals, they were gradually working their way east as they fed.   Three Eurasian Spoonbill were seen feeding as we moved towards the Black Barn Pools, too far away to really get much on the two with colour-rings, but they have been reported.

Grebe numbers are starting to build with over 30 Little Grebe and 50+ Great-crested Grebe in just one of the pools.   Tufted duck in various states of plumage were in high numbers, probably over 100) and with a rising tide Black-tailed Godwit numbers increased during the late morning.   

In with roosting godwit were three Common Redshank, a Ruff and Curlew Sandpiper, all actively feeding - it was interesting to watch them feeding, the sandpiper drilling down through the water, the ruff pecking from the surface, then nearby Spoonbill sweeping their impressive bills from side to side and the more delicate Avocet using a similar technique - a perfect way to understand their differing feeding strategies. 

Feeling buoyed by this we carried on with Cetti's Warbler singing.   Initially it was hard to discern the full song, with the wind blowing most of the notes away from us, but with some patience and an obliging easing of the breeze we finally heard an (almost) full rendition.   On Black Barn(BB)1 Pool where most of the Avocet were we found a Common Sandpiper and more Black-tailed Godwit.   As the day wore on and

spot the species!
the tide rose, this seemed to be the main area for roosting waders.   The other BB pools were dry.   

The highlight of the whole day for me was the sighting of a Whinchat.   In fact there were two, but I only managed to see one really well.   Great to see, not a bird I bump into that often.   This was closely followed by Stonechat, Linnet, Common Gull, Common Tern, Goldfinch and Marsh Harrier amongst others.

We also had great murmurations of Starling during the day, one particularly large flock was making wonderful round and heart-shaped patterns in the sky, it was impressive to watch them.

There were a few butterflies around, not many stayed around long enough for photographs but Red Admiral, Small Heath, and Brown Argus were the most obliging.   Large White were the most numerous of the day.  A Marsh Frog almost got squashed as it jumped ahead of us, small but very confiding. 

Marsh Frog

So once again a great day at Cliffe.

Sadly, there has been an increase in fly tipping and littering during the last few months, so at some stage there will need to be a clean up, disappointing that people are going out of their way to visit the place only to treat it with disrespect.   

P.s. Final highlight of the day finding ...........

....  Water Vole droppings!