Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Bath Time !

I had a small job to finish off on Yell today and as I had an hour to kill before the ferry, I went along to Westing to have a look. Over the last week, numbers of Ringed Plovers have been building up and today there were 12 or 15 birds all frantically running around on the narrow strip of sand displaying and fighting over the watching females (sounds familiar)

Also on the beach were numerous Turnstones and a solitary Purple Sandpiper that seemed to be playing 'chicken' with the breaking waves as they broke on the shore.
 I'm sure that I could see the Purple Sandpiper checking for the next wave as it ran down the banked up seaweed looking for food.


At one end of the beach by the car turning area, there are some flattish rocks that only get covered by salt water during storms. After rain, hollows in the rocks fill with rain water and the waders then make regular visits to bath in the fresh water. I'd noticed this last year but didn't try to get any shots. Today, I thought I'd just sit nearby and watch the reaction of the birds as often they're not bothered when they are feeding if I'm quite close. I sat and watched and a number of them came along the strand line and even though I was fairly close, they made their way up to the 'bathing area' and washed. It wasn't the usual pools, but I now know if I use the bag hide I'll get the shots I want. 

Bathing Turnstone

Heading back along the road for the ferry, just before the junction at the main road, something caught my eye in a small pool on the roadside. Stopping the car, my first thought was that it was maybe a Redshank (the most likely candidate at this time of year) but I was totally surprised to find it was a Merlin paddling in the shallow water. After grabbing a few shots, the bird took off and I thought that was that. However, it only flew a few yards and to my surprise it landed in the next - slightly larger- pool.


The lighting wasn't brilliant as it was back-lit, but, for a probable once in a life time experience, I just had to do the best I could. I was then treated to almost 15 minutes as it bathed and then drying itself off before flying off again.




WPATW said...

Like the Merlin Robbie - well done


Suze said...

A lovely piece on the blog Robbie, lucky you to capture a Merlin and bathing as well. The Burra Firth and Muckle Flugga images bring back fond memories.