Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Tetney Marshes

The car park at the Humber Mouth Yacht Club at the end of the Fitties was busy when we arrived at 10.00 am, but there were still places.  It was pleasant waiting in the sun taking in the bird activity while we waited for Brian and Heather.  Gulls, mainly black-headed, were plentiful as were mallard.  A redshank was feeding busily in front of us and we could see several little egrets flying in and out of the creeks where they were feeding.  

While the Heathers set off to walk along the beach Brian and I decided to walk along the sea wall to the tidal lock gates at the end of the Louth Canal.  Walking along the high bank with good views over bothe the estuary and marsh and the inland fields it was good to see a large flock of brent geese feeding on the farmland.  I was surprised at how confiding these usually very wary birds were.  Presumably they are so used to people walking along the sea bank they are not seen as a threat.  Over the marsh a large flock of lapwings was wheeling and settling and then seeming to panic and flying up again.  I suspected a marauding peregrine but couldn't see it.  Further along it was good to see two flocks of curlew numbering about 100 birds in total.  Research by scientists from the RSPB, the British Trust for Ornithology and the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust in this country as well as others world wide have come to the conclusion that curlew species are seriously at risk: 7 of the 13 species are in danger of extinction and 2, the slender billed curlew and the eskimo curlew may already be so.  Risks to curlew species world wide are many and various but in the UK curlews have seen a sharp decline due to long-term changes in countyside management, where - in addition to predation - eggs and chicks can be destroyed by farm equipment.  Changes in farming practices can help curlew numbers to recover, the work being done by James Rebanks on his farm in the Lake District is a leading light in this area. (The English Pastoral, James Rebanks and @herdyshepherd1 on Twitter).  We are lucky in our part of the world in that we still see good numbers of curlew as the Humber Estuary is one of their most important wintering grounds.

Back at the lagoon by the car park we had an excellent view of a male teal in wonderful light as well as a pair of stonechats posing beautifully.  On the lagoon we enjoyed seeing 6 dabchicks or little grebes.

An excellent morning. 

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