Another coastal nature reserve ticked

After leaving the Sherwood Forest NNR with all the excitements by the new life bird I drove to the Lincolnshire coast to find some cool birds. Again Mandy West gave directions for a Black-throated Loon, the Horned Larks and Snow Buntings at the coast line.

First I wanted to see the Black-throated Loon which had been present at the Cleethorpes Country Park for a while. I arrived to that little and quite disturbed lake early in the afternoon. The loon was swimming in the middle of the lake being watched by other birdwatchers as well. I sat down on a bench and enjoyed watching it. Honestly I don’t understand why it has been staying so long on this little pond as it seemed quite stressed by the close appearence of the walking and loudly playing people.

Black-throated Loon. Image taken in Hungary. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Black-throated Loon. Image taken in Hungary. © Gyorgy Szimuly

On the way to the Horned Larks I saw 18 Pink-footed Geese landing on a field between the coast and Skidbrooke North End. While driving to the car park of the Saltfeetby – Theddlethorpe Dunes National Nature Reserve (NNR) I stopped by a large wheat field at Theddlethorpe All Saints where 253 European Golden Plovers, 112 Northern Lapwings, 26 European Herring Gulls, a Stock Dove and 37 European Starlings were feeding.

The damaged sand dunes of the nature reserve. © Gyorgy Szimuly

The damaged sand dunes of the nature reserve. © Gyorgy Szimuly

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Some part of the dune seemed to be untouched despite being fully flooded by the tidal surge in the end of last year. © Gyorgy Szimuly

I parked at the Churchill Lane of Theddlethorpe St Helen and made a walk along the coastline. I wans’t sure which direction was good for the larks. I looked to the north to find birdwatchers. No luck. Then I looked to the south where I saw a couple scoping, so I decided to go that way. It was a low tide, by the way. A kindly smiling birder then informed me that he just had seen the larks and about 50 Snow Buntings on the dunes. “He had just seen” means he had seen them two minutes ago. There was another birdwatcher-looking chap at the place but as I approached him he just kept the distance. I knew he was after the birds, but the fact he walked by the same speed as I had, made me worry a bit. Finally he slowed down and I asked him about the birds. “Aaammmuuuuhhhmmmmyeeah, the birds were here but I don’t know why and where they disappeared. I don’t know where they are now.” – he answered. He had a larger lens and a camera and apparently for some frames he chased the birds away. He quickly left the place then.

Despite I was quite disappointed by his apparently unethical behaviour, I kept walking another mile and a half to try to find the flock. Just before I returned back to the car park 8 Horned Larks appeared from nowhere and dropped towards the dune next to me. Just before landing, they took off again and flew further south. They were too far away to follow them as the Sun was going down quickly. There was no sign of the big flock of Snow Buntings though, but on the way back, I found 3 Twites landed just in front of me. They were calling in flight.

A Horned Lark from possibly the same flock I have seen today. © Mandy West

A Horned Lark from possibly the same flock I have seen today. © Mandy West

Flying Twites at the east coast. © Mandy West

Flying Twites at the east coast. © Mandy West

On the way home at Theddlethorpe, Mablethorpe 15 Eurasian Curlew were feeding on the fields.

My year list grew to 93 and I have submitted 55 checklists so far this year. Thanks again to Mandy West for all her help including these images. Great to have such nice friends around!

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