autumn bird migration, birding, birdwatching, British birds, Cardiff Bay, Ely embankment, Turnstone, Turnstone breeding plumage
As well as seeing the Common sandpiper I blogged about yesterday, Friday’s walk along the Ely embankment made me smile for another reason – the Turnstones are back!
Fresh from their breeding season in Greenland and parts of northern Canada, looking very handsome in their darker summer plumage, perhaps still a little weary from those long-haul flights, but they’ve made it.
I love these characterful little birds. Most of the time they might seem a bit dull, plodding purposefully along the tide line, turning over pebbles and seaweed in their never-ending search for insect snacks, or sitting, a little hunched over, snoozing in the sun.
Yet I’ve also seen a large group of them, in a coastal town in southern England, in the midst of a huge storm, when the ferocity of the waves had driven them up off the beach on to an expanse of grass where large puddles had accumulated, behaving like crazy kids, chattering away happily to each other while they ran in and out of the puddles, excited, splashing and flapping their wings, and so obviously having fun.
There were four Turnstones on the embankment on Friday. Maybe they’re locals, or maybe they just stopped over for a rest before heading further south, but I’m sure I’ll be seeing many more of these special birds in the weeks to come.
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