The Dee Estuary, on the North Wales / North-West England border, is one of the United Kingdom’s premier birding locations for wetland and shorebirds. But I wasn’t there primarily for birds, although they do feature in this blog, mainly because you can’t miss seeing them if you visit the estuary.
According to the Dee Estuary website there were 1,700 Black-tailed Godwit, 300 Bar-tailed Godwit, 15,000 Knot, 12,000 Oystercatcher and 5,000 Dunlin on the shore at Caldy/Thurstaston this morning.
In the photograph above you can see Mostyn Docks on the Welsh side of the Estuary. It’s from here that the Airbus A380 wings are shipped to Toulouse in France for aircraft assembly.
One of the reasons I was on the English side of the estuary was to photograph the Cockle pickers as they worked out on the mud flats.
Out there on the flats it soon turns from sand to thick gloopy mud and I wasn’t able to get too close to this boat because of this. Fortunately I had the Sigma 150-500mm attached to my trusty Pentax K-30 and using this combination I was able to get a reasonably close photograph.
Meanwhile I could see I was too late to catch the Cockle pickers in action; they had already harvested the days catch….
…. and I was only able to photograph them going out to retrieve it
It’s not something I would like to do. It’s muddy, cold, tiring. These guys were struggling to drag the inflatable across the mud. Look at what they are wearing and see how muddy they are. One other interesting point about this photograph. If you look in the top right hand corner, you can just see a splash of white against the blue sky. This is Talacre lighthouse which features in many of my posts.
As well as the Cockle pickers harvesting shell-fish a few tourists were also trying to get in on the act, including this Oystercatcher.
Because they eat cockles Oystercatchers are vulnerable if cockle beds are overexploited. Oystercatchers can be seen on almost all of the coastal areas of the UK.
I’ve seen a lot Redshank on the coast in the last two weeks and I wasn’t going to show this photograph because I’ve written about the Redshank before.
But on reflection (excuse the pun) I really liked this one myself and thought you might as well.
Finally, the all-black Carrion Crow is one of the cleverest, most adaptable of UK birds, they are quite fearless, but often wary of man. When searching for food Carrion Crows exercise caution initially, but are quick to learn when it is safe. They will then return repeatedly to take advantage of whatever is on offer.
Well that’s it for this post. I hope you enjoyed this brief visit to England with me and maybe we could do it again, sometime.
But before you go, here’s on more great little bird for you. As I was walking back up to the car this little Kestrel was hovering over the cliff tops, searching for small mammals or birds. It wasn’t that much higher than me which enabled me to get a few photographs before it flew away. Definitely my catch of the day.
Kestrels are found in a wide variety of habitats and are a familiar sight, hovering at the side of motorways, or other main roads. Preferred habitats are moors, farmland, even urban areas.