Saturday, 16 April 2011

Nearly but not quite

The Safari was able to get a few hours on the nature reserve today and was hoping for a clean up on summer migrants. As we passed through the gate at the little wetland we heard a distant Whitethroat (145) - great start. Earlier we'd had a text from CR saying he'd been getting pics of a Grasshopper Warbler there and a quick call to him had us listening at the embankment at the end of the track - nothing - after 10 minutes we gave up worrying we couldn't hear them anymore. We'd gone less than 20 yards when it fired up. Grasshopper Warbler (146) in the notebook but try as we might we couldn't see it. For 'reasonable quality' pics have a look here in due course - not up at the time of posting but we'd hazard a guess they'll be worth the wait.

Other summer fare included plenty of Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps with a supporting cast of a lot of Reed Warblers (147), but we couldn't pick out a Sedge Warbler today, musta been one somewhere.

A small flock of hirundines dropped in in a slight deterioration in the weather from which we eventually pulled out three House Martins (148). All the others were Sand Martins and there endeth the day's tally of year ticks - slightly disappointing but the day was so good it was just great to be out in the sunshine having a mooch and seeing what was about. Occassionally there was no anthropogenic noise at all just bird song and the breeze in the trees - perfect...simply bliss.

Two pairs of Teal graced the scrape and behind them over the fields a Kestrel gave some serious stick to a Sparrowhawk while the local Lapwings buzzed them both and a pair of Oystercatchers flew round noisily below all the kerfuffle.

A Common Gull was a good find at this time of year and easily pick of the gulls.

We had a bit of a photo-session with a pair of Grey Lag Geese.

There then followed one of those once in a lifetime moments, three Buzzards appeared as if out of the ether, none had been seen until now, and started to circle tightly on a thermal over the dam, within minutes two Kestrels had joined them and a minute later a Peregrine was 'top of the tower' and all in the bins at the same time - a real pity they were just too distant for the camera a real 'Attenborough' moment...a privilege to witness it unlike the family who walked almost underneath them and didn't notice what was going on above their heads - dunno why cos the Buzzards were calling loud enough for us to hear a couple of hundred yards away against the wind.
Nothing much was going on at the feeding station, a female Great Spotted Woodpecker vied for attention with this gaudy male Pheasant.

Out on the lake we could only find a female Goldeneye, two pairs of Great Crested Grebes and 11 Tufted Ducks.

A fly over male House Sparrow was a useful site tick.
With the warmth butterflies were out in force, mostly Small Tortoiseshells
This Speckled Wood was our first of the year.
Cuckoo Flower is so named as it flowers when the Cuckoos arrive, one of the migrants we hoped to come across today although they are getting seriously scarce around these parts - not so long ago we watched a pair of Sedge Warblers bringing their oversized 'offspring' up on the reserve.
Later in the year this Apple Tree is going to be bedecked with fruit ready for the Redwings and Fieldfares.
Plenty of Peacocks were on the wing, or on the Blackthorn.
Some were even on the ground...and we heard the bird (from the zoo)...a Peacock double!
At the end of our session almost back at the Land Rover we'd had a tip off that the Water Crowfoot was looking mighty pretty - they weren't wrong.
Where to next? Might give Chat Alley a blast early doors tomorrow before we do our stint at the 'Animal Fun Day' in the big park...not sure what to expect there but if you're about pop by and say hi.

In the meantime we're not going to tell you how awful the North Blackpool Pond Trail bird survey was - very disappointing.


Amila Kanchana said...

Wow,some great beauties there Davo,splendid!:)

cliff said...

It's wonderful to see spring erupting at the mere at the moment Dave.

I saw my 1st Speckled Wood of the year on at the mere Friday, unusually my one didn't open it's wings so it was nice to get a closed wing shot for a change.

I was also snapping a male Pheasant yesterday(not my favourite bird)I wonder if it was the same one you photographed?

I deffo need to brush up on my warbler song id skills, I heard quite a few both friday & saturday, but had no idea if they were Reed or Sedge, & from reading your blog it would suggest they're the former.


Monika said...

Dave - What an interesting and varied post - great stuff! Spring has finally arrived as we all seem to be finding the migrants left and right. My next post will be about a birding trip and our totals will remain almost identical.

Cliff - I need to relearn some warbler songs, too. Something I have to do every spring!

Lancs and Lakes Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Cliff - got my first sedge near the bridge this evening