Monday, 31 August 2015

Full Moon tides and Turnstones

The last week has been particularly productive for waders, and in particular for Turnstones. The full moon currently lighting up the nights has produced some of the highest tides of the year, with a 10.2 metre high tide today. These high tides have encouraged high numbers of waders to congregate around certain areas on the Narrows. One of the best sites is Solfach, where the shelter of the bay encourages deposition of kelp and other seaweed: this in turn creates a massive amount of food for birds, being home to lots of different invertebrates.

Some of the totals for this week's wader counts have been quite impressive: yesterday we saw 72 Turnstones, which is the highest count for several years. Other high counts have included eight Ringed Plovers (30th), 81 Knots (28th), five Purple Sandpipers (27th), 13 Dunlins (30th), 10 Whimbrels (27th), 38 Curlews (28th), eight Redshanks (30th) and a Common Sandpiper.

The Turnstones have been particularly photogenic, and it has been great fun to lie down near the shoreline and watch as they go about their business: industriously turning over every pebble and rock in search of grub, and squabbling over the best feeding areas, with tails drooped in aggression. I have been photographing them alongside James O'neill, who has got some cracking shots too- you can check out his Flickr stream for more images. I have included a fairly large selection of images taken over the last few days below. I hope you enjoy!

This panoramic shows Bardsey mountain, and Solfach in the foreground

And some flight shots from yesterday...

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