Grey sky, grey sea, black dots.


A crispy, clear sunny morning inevitably slid into grey cloud and biting cold as my lunchbreak approached – but I gave a seawatch a go at Ainsdale anyway.
About 1,200 Common Scoter strung out offshore, but of those perhaps 300 were close enough to work, and nothing odd jumped out.
Stumpy the Caspian Gull was riding the icy updraughts around the empty hulk of Toad Hall and a few alba wags (is it too early in the year to stop calling them all Pieds yet?) called overhead.

Ainsdale 1220-1320:

Common Scoter 1,200
Great Crested Grebe 4
Red Throated Diver 2
Eider 2

Disappointingly quiet apart from the Common Scoters, and a chilly hour was enlivened only by a pair of Eiders bombing south.
6 RB Mergs offshore here yesterday, but I couldn’t pick any out today.

One thought on “Grey sky, grey sea, black dots.

  1. Since the summer of 2015 1,606 schools across the UK have taken part in a survey to find out what is living under their feet, and how this affects the birds that depend on the wildlife that lives in our soil.
    So far, around 40,000 schoolchildren have taken part in the ‘What’s Under Your Feet’ project to help find out, what is living right under their feet, and how it is distributed across the country in the differing soils.
    The schoolchildren were asked to sample a 300mm x 300mm square of soil on their playing fields, and rather surprisingly, it seems that the length of time since any rain had fallen had a large impact on the results. More invertebrates were found in the soil the longer it had been since there was any rainfall. This might mean that the floods experienced this winter in northern Britain could have far reaching implications for those animals that rely on soil invertebrates. Further investigation is needed and it will be interesting to see the results from those schools whose playing fields have experienced flooding.
    Early indications also show that there are often more soil invertebrates close to trees and shrubs. Worms, woodlice, spiders, beetles, ants and earwigs are all more abundant near shrubs or trees than they are in open soil.
    What’s Under Your Feet is organised by the British Trust for Ornithology in collaboration with EDF Energy. The next phase of the project began on 1st March 2016, when registered schools will be asked to dig again.
    Anyone can take part, for more information, and to register your school, please visit :,42Q6G,3BWYLF,ERLFK,1


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