My first embankment stroll this month was on the third and I saw not a single solitary Turnstone – that hasn’t happened since I started doing a regular weekly count along this embankment back in September. The only birds on the stones were three Grey wagtails, and, though there were two Little grebes in the water, even the numbers of Coot and Mute swan were much reduced.
The 8th of December was a bitterly cold day, with the wind so strong it was whipping up small waves against the stones of the embankment. I’m sure that’s the reason I saw so few birds – a single Grey wagtail flitted back and forth, and only six hardy Coots braved the chilly waters, a tiny number compared to usual. There wasn’t a single Mute swan or Mallard or Turnstone, and even gull numbers were low – those that were about were flying quite low around me, as if hoping for food. I had none to give but I did try to grab some flight photos, this Black-headed gull being the best of a blurry bunch.
The 16th was cold but not sub-zero so relatively pleasant, and perhaps that’s why the Turnstones had returned – well, two of them had, and it was lovely to see them foraging along the water’s edge. I didn’t think there were many gulls about until a Black-headed gull about 50 metres from me found some food and then gulls flew in from every direction – 37 Black-headed and 5 Lesser black-backs, all wheeling and screeching and squabbling over one slice of bread.
Apart from those, there were two Mute swans, 3 Mallards, about 6 Coots, 3 Great crested grebes and 1 Grey wagtail. Oh, and I mustn’t forget the littlest of all, a tiny Wren bopping in and out of the rocks in search of insects.