Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Marsh Harrier lifts the gloom


Two weekend visits to the gravel pits of which both started with a blanket of fog over Salford Priors. For recording purposes I will only blog Sundays sighting if there was nothing additional on Saturday.

Pophills remains very quiet with the waders seeming to prefer the quieter main pit since the drainage works has been completed. It will be interesting if this is the case when we have some genuine north westerly winds blowing.

Viewing on the main pit was very difficult due to the fog but the two Pintail were still present with three Shoveler and Teal. A Ringed Plover was the only wader on view other than a Common Sandpiper.

Sadly no Turtle Dove in the old workings before heading to the migrant traps behind Marsh Farm. First find was two Lesser Whitethroats and whilst watching those a Stonechat popped up into view. I managed to grab a quick digiscoped photo but the light was all wrong to catch this passing juvenile bird. Along the same hedge line a Greater Spotted Woodpecker was showing off and there were also Blackcaps, a Sedge Warbler and Song Thrush.

The bottoms lagoons looked good again with recent rain but sadly there were only three Green Sandpipers to record. Three Skylarks took flight has we headed to the middle lagoon where two Pochard had returned to. 

Up on the bunds I was moaning about the lack of raptors and good birds when a Kestrel hovered right above hidden pools and then another raptor caught my eye. Instantly I knew it was a Marsh Harrier and I then scoped it as a juvenile by its dark brown colour with gold crown. It did one circle as it reached the bottom of reserve but sadly it continued its journey south. This was the second Marsh Harrier recorded this year at the site with the previous one being at the start of May. 

No patch ticks for the year but a nice morning once the fog had lifted. 

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