Thursday, 9 May 2013

Chasing Blackwits....

I look out across an almost empty field.

A moulted feather drifts left to right on a gentle and warm summery breeze. A (feral) Barnacle Goose wanders nonchalantly in the same direction as the aforementioned feather.

24 hours before the field was buzzing with the chattering calls of 1,500 Blackwits. Blackwits that as I look on the abandoned field will be in the air, closing in on Iceland and their breeding grounds.

For a couple of weeks I and a couple of other Blackwit obsessives have been chasing this now departed flock around the Dee. From Caldy Steps to Gilroy to this field next to the A540.

We chase Blackwits because they are stunning wading birds and also because we are involved in Operation Godwit, a research programme that colour rings some of these birds in an effort to understand their migration ecology.




But now thay are gone and I don't quite know what to do with myself....

As I collected data I took the opportunity to take a few pictures of these special birds. Collecting sightings of colour ringed birds can take a long time and can be quite frustrating (I have blogged about it before). My note book is testament to hours spent hunched over the scope but I never tire of it as I get to spend a huge ammount of time watching these stonking birds.



I took several thousand pictures of them, just recording their days in the sun prior to departure for Iceland.


The flock is mixture of adults in breeding plumage and some juvenile birds still in their paler garb. They are busy being Blackwits.

Washing....


feeding....


fighting....


swimming...


a bit more fighting....


I just can't get enough of these birds. Their chattering calls and graceful swaying around the pool are a treat to watch and photograph.

I look out on an empty pool, where Blackwits waded just 24 hours ago. Paddling the shallow edges or wading up to their bellies.


The Blackwits are in the air, flying north and I can't follow, the are out of my range. What am I going to do now...?



....now I can't go chasing Blackwits....

1 comment:

  1. I know just what you mean Matt, they are stunning birds to see, and you've posted some excellent captures.

    Living by the Dee Estuary though, you'll never be short of subjects now these beauties have departed.

    ReplyDelete