A bit of a comparison to start with. It's been consistently cold, the same as everywhere else, but we haven't had that much extra snow so the build up of ice is the main thing here. The first photo was taken on Wednesday........and this one was taken on Friday evening.You can see the ice is beyond the second post now and creeping into the area where most of the waders feed when the tide is rising. There is still plenty of feeding areas out there but they'll have to work a little bit harder now. The next photo was also Friday evening just to show the nice sky.The Bird Race was held on Saturday which turned out to be the worst day we've had for a while. I set off in rain that turned to snow and back to rain again. Thankfully the forecast was good for the rest of the day. The start time was for 09:30 and finishing at 16:00. I picked up PS and we set off to the starting point. With the roads being a bit icy we took our time and didn't quite make our starting point. As the clock turned to 09:30 we pulled in to make a start and got 3 Hooded Crow and nothing else! A Blackbird put in an appearance before we got Raven, Herring Gull and House Sparrow. Still a slow start. We turned our eyes to the sea at the next stop and collected Oystercatcher, GBB Gull, Eider, Shag, Cormorant, Grey Heron and Common Gull with Dunnock, Jackdaw, Rook, Robin, Starling and Song Thrush on the land. We were hoping for better things at the next stop so they came rolling in - Greylag Goose, Meadow Pipit, Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Snipe, RB Merg, Common Buzzard and Common Gull. That's more like it. A good search round the area and we picked up Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Skylark, Reed Bunting, Ringed Plover, Curlew, Chaffinch and Rock Pipit. Over thirty birds but an hour and a half to get them. We dashed off to the next couple of locations with bird feeders and got Goldfinch at the first one then Great, Blue and Coal Tit at the next. A Wren flew from cover as we drove along the road before locating our first Rock Doves of the day. We relocated a flock of thrushes that we had seen on our way to the starting point - Fieldfare, Redwing and a bonus Mistle Thrush with them. Another stop to scan the sea was a boon with GN Diver, RT Diver, BT Diver, Black Guillemot, Tufted Duck and an Otter that wouldn't count for the day! A Sparrowhawk flew across the bay before we located 2 Greenfinch sitting at the top of a conifer. The next few birds were well spaced apart as we seemed to hit a flat spot in the day so a Stonechat was nice to see, 6 Goosander together was a tremendous find, 2 distant Guillemot and our first large raptor of the day, Golden Eagle. Next stop was at the shop for lunch but a quick check around first. A Crossbill was singing as we stepped out of the motor and showed very well, 2 Goldeneye, Redshank, BH Gull, Turnstone and Collared Dove were quickly added too. There wasn't that much left to get and still only 13:30. We headed for the hills to see if we could get WT Eagle but no luck, if you can say that, just 4 Golden Eagle displaying and calling to each other - fantastic! Two of the birds shown below.We picked up Little Grebe as we got back to the watery bits and then nothing until a noisy flock of about 30 Siskin with a few Goldfinch in there too. A Golden Eagle cruised the ridge as we spotted one of the other teams - the bird was probably out of view to them. With the road ahead closed and nowhere left to go we called in on the local piper for a dram - super idea! The drive back to base produced a Woodpigeon and the first Kestrel I have seen this year. A respectable 65 species on the day and the most seen out of the four teams out - quality. We'll pick the trophy up on Wednesday evening. A big thanks to PS for joining the fun.
Not much done today so a shot of a Fieldfare will have to do.