Common Sandpipers & Garden Warbler

Common Sandpiper

Though they should have been terns: common, arctic, Sandwich or even black. That was the purpose of my walk to Battery Point. Instead, on the way over, just by scanning the unpromising mud banks at the Portishead Marina entrance, I picked up three common sands and a redshank. It’s easy for birds to hide in tham thar hills. That’s what the terrain looks like through binoculars.

The garden warbler was warbling softly, not in a garden but on my route through Eastwood. That little patch has really been delivering recently. I didn’t get a view of the bird but there’s not much to see. It lives up to its scientific name – Sylvia borin. But it does sing sweetly, like a decaffeinated sedge warbler, or a blackcap with the volume down and in extended play mode.

Finally, swallows and sand martins fluttered and swooped over the Boating Lake. It was all very summery, apart from a disgusting yellowish layer of murk over the Severn Estuary. One’s immediate reaction is to blame Avonmouth but the wind has finally veered round to the west, so Llanwern? Is that still operating? Something else Welsh? Cardiff? A volcano? (Not Welsh obviously.)

Portishead Pier Mud & Pollution

I’ve had to mess with this picture to show what I’m talking about and even then it’s really only visible in the big version. But the layer was certainly there. It’s not all darkroom wizardry.

Yesterday lunchtime over Waitrose, I had a herring gull that may just have been aberrant but may have been something else. My initial reaction was Iceland gull but a binocular view revealed a few dark bars on the outer primaries, so it wasn’t pure white-winged. I’ve never seen a herring gull so unmarked and I’ve spent a while watching them in Angus. Maybe a hybrid, if hybridisation works like that? Maybe Kumlien’s? The picture in my Harrison suggests that rather more than my Collins does.

Needless to say, the gull was nowhere to be seen today. Other ideas?

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