Trip reports

Knott End

Oystercatcher wading in shallow water

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

On a cold but clear morning we met at Knott End at 10am to watch the waders being pushed towards us on the incoming high tide of 10 metres at 11.33am. We made our way from the car park towards the ferry slipway, with a turnstone busy feeding in the tide wrack by the slipway. A pied wagtail scurried along by the Lowry artwork, jumping up regularly, presumably fascinated by its own reflection in the statues shiny surface. A mass of several hundred oystercatchers were being slowly moved along by the incoming tide, with smaller numbers of redshanks and a few knot on the mud in front of us.

We walked slowly along the promenade, birdwatching as we went, with several shelduck and curlews visible. we then moved onto the sea wall and walked towards Cocker's Dyke, with a couple of rock pipits teasing us as they hid amongst the large rocks of the sea wall. We surpassed by a late swallow which flew close by!

Several species of gulls were on the water, with 3 great black-backed gulls, black-headed gulls, common gulls and herring gulls present. Raptors then showed themselves, as we had a couple of buzzards wheeling low above our heads, a sparrowhawk flushed from a line of trees, and a kestrel hovering in front of us over the sea wall. A few snipe flew overhead and settled on the few island of salt marsh still above the tide, with small groups of redshank, knot and grey plovers on other islands. A lone little egret sat on another island. Small groups of knot and dunlin flew low over the sea. Several skeins of pinkfooted geese had been moving south across Morecambe Bay and flying inland and about a hundred were settled in a field on the inland side of the seawall, with lapwing also in the fields.

We then made our way back to Knott End for lunch, with a couple of grey wagtail spotted by some of the group. After lunch most of us returned to the top of the slipway to watch the birds on the newly exposed mudflats as the tide receded, with 3 twite and several turnstone feeding in the tidewrack near the slipway. Ringed plovers were now feeding on the mud and a line of distant sanderling scurried along the tideline. A couple of cormorants and a flock of 20 black-tailed godwits flew over, and a great-crested grebe kept diving under the waves, with a group of golden plover landing near the tide edge.

As we left Knott End, several of us drove around the lanes near Pilling, but apart from a sparrowhawk, little was seen, with no sign of the pinkfooted geese that had been present as I drove in that morning. We continued inland and stopped on Black Lane in Nateby for a look at the flooded fields. We were not disappointed as the main flood held 35 whooper swans, plus well over 1,000 black-tailed godwits, which flew up en masse before settling down again - quite a spectacle to finish our day!

Species seen:

Turnstone, oystercatcher, shelduck, redshank, knot, shelduck, little egret, pinkfooted geese, great black-backed gull, buzzard, black-headed gull, pied wagtail, sanderling, dunlin, magpie, goldfinch, grey wagtail, herring gull, curlew, rock pipit, dunnock, swallow, snipe, grey plover, golden plover, mallard, starling, sparrowhawk, carrion crow, kestrel, wood pigeon, common gull, lapwing, black-tailed godwit, cormorant, ringed plover, great-crested grebe, twite, whooper swan