Wednesday, 13 April 2016

April patch delights

It felt like it was going to be a good weekend. I had planned to have a morning on the Somerset levels and take in the reported White Stork before it showed more anti-social tendencies and took of to head north.  I made the most of the time & had three patch visits.

As soon as I got out the car a male Blackcap was in full voice on the edge of the plantation, after a couple of minutes of patience the bird showed very well. My target of the morning was most definatley Wheatear as it’s a species that passes through and then becomes almost impossible to catch up with.  We have some very shallow flashes in the middle of the pits that seems to be the hotspot and it paid dividends again. It started off by my finding a stonking male then I found another three females keeping him company. I called Paul who joined me as I watched them for about an hour and tried to get a couple of records shots.

Three Little Ringed Plover are flying around Pophills and the middle areas. I managed to photograph one as I was waiting for the Wheatears. The Green Sandpipers seem to have dropped to just two at the moment, with the water level very high our change of wading birds is diminishing this spring. On Snipe meadow it seemed the local Hare population are enjoying the new habitat, I’m guessing it has to please someone.

Sunday was WEBS count day so John and I set off around 8am. Heading back from the main pit was Ann & Noel who had seen a Yellow Wagtail but sadly we couldn’t find it. As we caught up with the gossip the first of two Red Kites came into view heading west towards the village. The second Kite (a different one) was hunting the landfill areas where I caught up in the action above our heads. When does a bird become a trash bird for your site ? 5 sightings on the bounce, certainly indicate its heading towards that category.

Whilst on the main pit all three hirundines could be seen in good numbers including my first House Martins of the year. Swallows kept moving through all morning.  A White Wagtail flew into the main island  around the busy Oystercatchers. It was good to meet Andy Woodhouse who was around the south pools and reports two Avocets on Friday. That’s a species a few of us need to see at the site. After that is was a pretty tame end to the morning other than 17 Buzzards on view and a Sparrowhawk.

Complete sightings care of Jon as I'm phone ran out of battery  :- 16 Little Grebe, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Cormorant, 4 Grey Heron, 6 Mute Swan, 14 Greylags, 32 Canada Geese, 4 Shelduck, 31 Gadwall, 24 Teal, 83 Mallard, 12 Shoveller, 85 Tufted Duck, 2 Red Kite, 1 Sparrowhawk, 17 Buzzard, 2-3 Kestrel, 12 Moorhen, 74 Coot, 2 Oystercatcher, 4 LRP, 25 Golden Plover, 1 Lapwing, 1 Redshank, 3 Green Sandpiper, 12 LBB Gull, 5 Herring Gull, 20 Sand Martin, 3 House Martin, 10 Swallow, 6 Meadow Pipit, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1
White Wagtail, 2 Wheatear, 3 Blackcap, 1 Raven, 50 Linnet, 3 Siskin.

The good lady fancied a walk on Sunday afternoon so we headed to Abbots Salford for a quick lap of the area. As it turned out it wasn’t a quick lap at all as we found a male Redstart on the northern side of the pool. I made every effort to get a record shot but the bird was way to smart for me. Other sightings included Willow Warblers, two Blackcaps and two Wigeon.

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