Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Seamill & West Kilbride :: 29 December 2019

Our festive visit to Scotland to see family gave me an opportunity for a walk along the beach. The sunrise was at 8.49am and so I had to forgo my usual pre-breakfast departure. So after breakfast I took an hour and a half to stroll along the beach and coast. Although not a cold temperature, the wind chill was significant.

Water pipitDropping down onto the beach, my eyes were drawn to a black and grey bird landing to my right - normally this would be jackdaw but on this occasion it was a hooded crow; this is unusual for me on this stretch of the beach and usually only seen on the fields by Fairlie or entering Adrossan. It was accompanied by a single carrion crow and followed by a number of jackdaw.

The gulls were in their usual haunts with black-headed, great black-backed, lesser black-backed, herring, black-headed and common gulls in attendance. In the murk offshore gannet could be seen wheeling over the water. Meadow pipitCormorant and shag were feeding in the waves off the rocky outcrops. No sign of dipper in the burn - that is the last two visits I've not seen them. Water pipit fed amongst the seaweed, along with meadow pipit.

In the field next to the Waterside Inn, there was a flock of curlew (14) that took to the wing, circled and dropped back down - three more showed on the rocks. Rock pipits flew along the rocky outcrops to my right but never close enough to get a good photo.

I stopped before the Waterside Inn and scanned the rocky outcrop. I spotted a turnstone and then more, seven in total. Purple sandpiperAs I watched, they were joined by two purple sandpipers. I spent the next 20 minutes watching them as they fed on the waters edge. Terrific to stand and watch - I even forgot the wind.

The sea was now almost in and a group of seven redshank welcomed me back to the outflow from the burn. Back to the Seamill Hydro hotel to pack up and head off to see the family.

Sightings (31) included: black-headed gull, blackbird, buzzard, carrion crow, collared dove, common gull, cormorant, curlew, gannet, great black-backed gull, herring gull, hooded crow, house sparrow, jackdaw, lesser black-backed gull, magpie, mallard, meadow pipit, mute swan, oystercatcher, pied wagtail, purple sandpiper, redshank, rock dove / feral pigeon, rock pipit, rook, shag, starling, turnstone, water pipit and wigeon.

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