Fridays new arrival
Grey Phalarope - No.136 on the pits year list
Amazing detail on birds back
Poorly light on Saturday
After the Sunday storms
Sunday action shot
Large flocks of Martins still passing through (M Clarke)
Peregrine (M Clarke)
Spot on Arctic wader here on Pophills
With a number of Grey Phalarope being blown in with very strong westerlie winds I was hopeful that we might get one at the pits. With an extented weekend off work I headed down on Friday morning determined to find one. Starting at Kingley pool then working south I checked all lagoons before finally ending up at the main pit.
There in front of me at the south end of the main pit was the expected juvenile Grey Phalarope, as I text the rest of the team I then picked out a second Pharalope. The birds were constantly feeding and appeared very comfortable in their new surroundings. There had only been one previous record at the pits in September 2010, so to record two was unique.
With the light being excellent I managed to take some video and still images of the birds. With no contractors working it enabled many people to come down and see the birds over the weekend. Other Friday sightings included a Hobby, 2 Common Sandpiper, 1 Golden Plover, Great Crested Grebe, 15 Sand Martin, 12 Swallow, 40 House Martin, Raven, Pintail, 90 Meadow Pipits & 60 Skylark.
Knowing more people wanted to visit on Saturday I went very early on the hope the birds were still present. Starting at Pophills as I do normally, I wanted to check check the east shoreline for waders and after picking up the Common Sandpiper there was another Grey Phalarope. Surely it must be one of birds from the main pit, but no, the plumage looked more advanced. The Squire arrived and we were both agreed different bird but was the pair still on the main pit ? They were indeed making it a record count for the West Midlands region, thanks to Phil Andrews for this information. This seemed to generate more interest and we had a steady stream of visitors for the rest of the weekend all following the direction and behaving perfectly. Mike Wakeman text me on Friday as he wanted to head down but some how eneded on Pophills rather than the main pit and he observed a Pharalope early on Friday evening so this must have came in early afternoon.
These amazing tiny birds breed high up in the arctic ;north siberia, Canada, Siberia, Alaska & Greenland and are migrating south to South Africa. You will notice from the video the birds spin when feeding to stir up food, normally clockwise.
Further Saturday sightings included 2 Wheatear, 103 Meadow Pipits, 7 Wigeon, 90 Lapwing, a Swallow, 60 House Martin, 11 Golden Plover & 2 Great Crested Grebe.
So, on to Sunday where it was lashing down with rain for most of mine and Jon's normal session. Two Phalaropes were present on the main pit but no sign on Pophills. We both observed a wader twice that we both through was a Pectoral Sandpiper but with the rain and optics struggling with conditions we couldn't refind the bird despite our best efforts. Very frustrating.
Other Sunday highlights included a juvenile Peregrine hunting the wildfowl on main it, attempted repeated attempts before landing by the Little Owl tree, 21 Golden Plover, Green Sandpiper (Old Works lagoon), Kestrel, 150 Swallow, 18 Sand Martin, 130 House Martin, 6 Wigeon, 1 Pochard (central lagoon), 30 Siskin & 3 Reed Warbler.
Monday update :- Both birds still present