Thursday, 19 November 2015

North Lincolnshire coast

I love the Lincolnshire coastline, plenty of sandy beaches and saltmarsh and lots of great birds. This morning I had a walk along the sea wall near Tetney. I flushed a merlin from the bank at close range and it dashed across the saltmarsh and I had good views of around 500 dark-bellied brent geese, mainly on the saltmarsh or on the sandy shore, but a few were feeding inland of the sea defences on a field of winter wheat. This is a habitat which the birds have largely acquired since the 1970's. Their favoured food is eel grass, but when that food supply is exhausted they move onto arable fields.

Dark-bellied brent geese feeding on winter wheat (above) and more traditional saltmash vegetation (below).  Most were on the beach though.

There's been an exceptional migration of whooper swans over Spurn this autumn, and I was delighted to share in that experience today, with at least 22 birds heading south west in two flocks shortly after dawn.

Also today, at least 200 pink-footed geese over and lots of waders on the saltmarsh and beach, including a flock of many hundreds of golden plover.

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