I'm back from Another Place, the Antony Gormleyinstallation on Crosby beach, Merseyside. There are 100 life-sized metal figures on the beach. When the tides are at their highest, they can all be submerged totally.
When we were there, the tide was on its way out. New sculptures appeared all the time, which was weird. It shows the power of nature, or that whoever put them in did a really good job in making sure they didn't get dragged out to sea. They're mounted on metre-long piles sunk into the beach.
I remember reading some conservationists' concerns that the sculptures might scare birds off, but we watched a flock of Sanderlings scurrying around right next to one. I guess the increased numbers of visitors might be more of an issue, but it was pretty empty while we were there, on a blowy Tuesday afternoon.
The Starlings were in the car park, close to the ice-cream van and mobile burger bar. They were mostly males, congregating next to people who were sitting in their cars. The birds sang while they waited.
Another enjoyable ringing session at Beeston today. The sun shone, the wind was gentle, butterflies (Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Brimstone) fluttered, five Buzzards thermalled overhead and we were brought bacon butties and cups of tea. And caught 72 birds!
33 were Greenfinches (and one of those was a control - a bird that someone else had already ringed, somewhere else). The Green Woodpecker and a Starling brought a bit of variety to proceedings. A super-fat Chaffinch weighed 27 g and had a wing length of 93 mm (it could be on its way back to Scandinavia); many of the females were carrying plenty of fat, showing as a smudge of yellow on their chests.
We reached no. 90 on the garden list today. I was watching the inhabitants of the pond - backswimmers, water boatmen and a few beetles - when two Mute Swans flew over. Conveniently they announced their fleeting presence with their loud wingbeats (Mutes are the only swans with noisy wings).
A total of 100 suddenly seems more possible, but I think it might take rather a long time...
It's always fascinating to watch a Treecreeper shuffling its way up a tree, picking at tiny food particles on the way. It looks a bit like it's climbing a mighty rock face, but in reality it's just a small, brown bird