Sunday, 13 April 2014

Cor that was flippin freezinn

The Safari didn't put the moth trap out after all last night, it was far to windy and the wind was too cold!
We did nothing all morning until we set off to see if we could find some Great Crested Newts, not seen any yet this year. Driving down the lane we saw that the nearest car parking area was full so we had too turn round and leave, the site is too far from the other parking area for Frank to walk now.
Nothing for it but to head for the nature reserve instead.
There we met up with a few friends who had been round already and not seen too much, that cold wind was keeping everything low and the westerlyness of it had prevented any new stuff coming in overnight.
They went their way and we unlocked the hide, not often we're first in there. The waterfowl have now all but gone and we struggled to find anything more interesting than two male Teal and a drake Shoveler. The Coots are always entertaining at this time of year with there constant bickering and battling.
The gulls didn't provide anything out of the ordinary, best was this fading first winter Common Gull.
A first summer Black Headed Gull took its place after a short while
A Sparrowhawk drifted over them causing a bit of a panic and while we were watching that we picked up a few Sand Martins. No Swallows with them though. A Cetti's Warbler blasted out to our right, apparently one of seven or more singing this morning according to another birder who'd come in to the hide. A Willow Warbler (MMLNR #74) tried a little quiet song but it was really half-hearted.
Sand Martin flocks drifted in and out and eventually one such flock held a few Swallows (MMLNR #75). 
A wander up the bank gave us a bit of a shock, we had hoped to get some more pics of the Snakeshead Fritillaries as more should have been open but where had they all gone??? We bunked in to find a well worn path and dog footprints on the meadow, not a good sign. We found one broken Frit...nibbled but by what, Slugs or Rabbits but who ever it was it was a nightmare. Good to see the Cowslips doing well though and there's going to be a fine show of Agrimony if there is such a thing - it's not particularly showy as wildflowers go. One thing we've not noticed before but must have been present for a couple of years at least was a huge Meadowsweet patch. Doesn't look to be so much Meadow Cranesbill this season but this small meadow is starting look good mind you it's taken well over a decade and it's being invaded by hard to get rid of Common Reed and there are still too many Nettles.
A Blackcap tried to sing as did another Willow Warbler but the by were beaten by the wind.
Going back to the hide we saw more Sand Martins and Swallows and then MJ called out House Martin (131, MMLNR #76) and we were on it like a flash, our favoruite of the three summer swallows.
The gulls went up a couple more times both both times it was a one of thsae and not anything more exciting.
All too soon Frank was pooped, well he's found a ball and demanded to play but he's not really up to that anymore so we took him home and lit the fire to help stop him getting too stiff...poor old boy!
Where to next? Back to Patch 2 tomorrow and the invisible Sandwich Terns... not that many seen round here yet, they're getting very late.

In the meantime let us know who's been nibbling the exotic vegetables in your outback.

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