Purp and Porps, Terns and Turnstones

I didn’t get out on the Prom as early as I had planned, but it was still the time of day where there are only dog walkers, birders and people who haven’t made it home yet from the night before on the seafront. I love being on the Prom on calm, sunny spring mornings before the temperature really starts to soar and human activity increases. The drawback is that sometimes they can be low on wildlife interest; today that wasn’t the case.

The gulls got very agitated soon after I arrived and whilst my first thought of Osprey was over-ambitious it turned out they were in pursuit of a Grey Heron heading south towards North Pier. It’s bottom left in this phone shot trying to escape its pursuers and voicing its dissatisfaction (you’ll have to trust me on that).

A steady stream of small birds were making their way north overhead but the sea was pretty quiet, so I wandered up to the go kart track to see if the Purple Sandpiper was still with us for the winter. The tide was beginning to ebb and it was feeding at the base of the external wall of the track / former boating pool. You get the idea from the picture below how a bird with purple in its name can be cryptically plumaged still on a rocky shoreline.

There were still 30 or so Turnstones on the go track or nearby. One in particular approached very closely when I remained still, and I took a few phone pictures.

Whilst enjoying time with these shorebirds I heard the rasping call of a Sandwich Tern. I switched to my telescope and picked up three birds moving north. A very early bird was seen from South Shore a couple of weeks back but I think these are the first reported in Lancashire after that pioneer.

I returned to a more elevated viewpoint to see if there were any other seabirds on the move. There weren’t, however there were a couple of porpoises and even though these animals were some way out the millpond like state of the sea meant it was easy to track them for twenty minutes or more. I always say a day with porpoises is a good day, and all told there was a good variety of wildlife to be seen this morning.

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