Thursday, 17 March 2016

Afternoon at Inch Marlow

I was able to fit in a couple minutes of birding after work at Inch Marlow on the south coast of the island, on March 14th. I was not expecting to find anything but as I was in the area I decided to take a look.  There were a few barriers that were erected since I last visited the area making it impossible to drive out to the peninsula.  I parked and headed out to the rocky shoreline just pausing for a while to watch a fisherman who was eagerly pulling in his line and looking slightly dejected at finding it empty.

I looked first to the south side of the point. The first birds I saw there were three Semipalmated Plovers who quickly lead my eyes to a mixed flock of shorebirds sitting on the rocks.  The flock was made up mostly of Sanderlings, including some which were beginning to molt.  They were matched closely in numbers by Semipalmated Plovers, Ruddy Turnstones and there was also a single Semipalmated Sandpiper.  The birds then flew to the opposite side of the point, passing over the fisherman, who was now busy preparing to toss his fishing line into the sea again.

As I followed the small mixed group of shorebirds to the northern side of the peninsula, I came upon a much larger group.  Here the Semipalmated Plovers were the dominant shorebirds.
My final tally was:

  • Semipalmated plovers --- 40 birds (at least)
  • Ruddy Turnstones ---- 23 birds
  • Sanderlings ---- 13 birds
  • Semipalmated Sandpipers --- 5 birds

I spent ten to fifteen minutes photographing them bathing, preening, flying around and just sitting on the rocks, then I headed back to my car.

A man and a fish
As I approached the fisherman he was busy trying to pull in his line as something at the end of it was making it difficult for him to do so.  He walked about 100m to the south of where he was standing then after about fifteen minutes he came back to his original position and that was where the fight ended.  At the end of his line was, not a piece of the rock, as I had previously thought, but a large fish about four feet in length.  He told me it was called a “silver fish” I guess he now has fish to eat for the rest of the month.

It was good to see that we still have a few shorebirds on the island.  Not many are being seen at the inland ponds and wet areas, just a few Solitary and Spotted Sandpipers.  I am hoping to visit Inch Marlow again to check on the birds early next month.

As i was preparing the images from this excursion I noticed two banded Ruddys were part of the group. I will tell you about them in a separate posting.