Tuesday, 10 March 2009

King Canute's Bird.

There still aren't many birds around St Margaret's. It's a great place to be during the migration seasons, with always the hope of some thing unusual arriving, but during the winter and what passes as early spring it is possible to walk round Bockhill without seeing anything other than gulls, Wood Pigeons, Skylarks and meadow Pipits for hours. As a wader enthusiast it was useful today to have to go to Sandwich to get some replacement parts for the pump in our pond.

I popped up the road to Pegwell Bay and coincided with high tide. Out on the point a Sandwich Tern lingered with the Gulls and three Brents floated in the mouth of the river. A few waders did come relatively close to the hide. One single grey wader flew in and was joined by a couple of others among the Redshanks. It always seems to me that the Knot has fewer distinguishing features than most. It is the typical wader, medium sized, medium length bill and medium length legs.

Of course in summer when they have their beautiful red plumage they are rather more striking, but at the moment they are rather dull. The two above are rather shorter than the Redshank, with a slightly smaller body and shorter bill. When they come into their own is a roosting time when they are in large numbers, there a few sights more stunning than thousands of Knot wheeling round as if a single fluid organism. I thing that the best flock I've seen like this was at Snettisham, on the Wash. Katie Fullers"Bugbumper" blog has some fantastic photos taken there a few years back. At Pegwell we have to make do with hundreds, not thousands but they are still impressive. It was said that the name Knot was derived from it's habit of sitting at the edge of the waves like King Canute, but it is more likely that it comes from it grunting call.

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