Sunday, 15 February 2015

Another quality afternoon on the nature reserve

The Safari arrived at the nature reserve to news that on our drive in three Buzzards were directly over the Land Rover while we waited at one of many sets of traffic lights. They were still up there as we got all our paraphernalia for the afternoon's Guide-in-the-Hide session. A male Kestrel came up to meet one of the Buzzards and they shared a thermal for a short while. A good start!
There were a lot of Coots on the water and half a dozen Cormorants, two of which were later confirmed as 'sinensis' Continental Cormmorants.
Gulls came and went and were sometimes flushed by a marauding Great Black Backed Gull. Most were Herring Gulls with a few Black Heads, Commons and two Lesser Black Backs to keep them company.
The others in the hide wondered whether the gulls moving around where the same or new ones coming in. The answer was conformed as there were new ones when the 'Posh' Gull, the Iceland Gull, dropped in with a bunch of Herring Gulls.
It started to bathe and enjoyed a bit of a dip
A Sparrowhawk buzzed through and 10 Lapwings flew over but in the main it was a fairly quiet mid-February afternoon.
Eventually an Oystercatcher (MMLNR #68) dropped in and a second walked out from behind the bund the Cormorants were sat on, did we not see it drop in or had it been there a while?
Better came not too many minutes later we saw an adult Mediterranean Gull (MMLNR #69) fly though, a couple of the others dashed round to see if it had settled on the water, they never returned so we can only assume it isn't stop but kept on going.
A Buzzard/Kestrel combo wasn't so platonic as earlier as the female Kestrel gave some serious grief to a Buzzard that came too close to her prospective nesting site in the big barn.
Another series of gulls came through and one of them caught our eye. The very long and slender pale bill and dark eye had us thinking there might be some Caspian Gull genes lurking in there - apparently not according to far more experienced gullers than us - just a dark-eyed Herring Gull.
Someone has to be the first to get a pure Caspian Gull on the reserve.
The final entertainment was provided by two Rabbits nibbling and frolicking on the grassy slope between us and the water's edge.
And now some other stats about the visitors we could see wandering around out of bounds on the far side bearing in mind there are notices at all the entrance gates and maps showing where's safe and open and where isn't.
Birders - 6 including two from the hide looking for the Med Gull.
Cyclists - 5 (It's a Public Footpath - cycling is forbidden anyway).
Dogs - 9 off leads, 2 on a lead.
Where to next? An office-bound early start tomorrow so no chance of a look at Patch 2 until lunchtime.
In the meantime let us know what's been taking a dip in your outback.

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