Thursday, 14 April 2016

Another early morning safari

The Safari was once again off to the nature reserve just as dawn was breaking, thankfully there was no thick fog today and it was a little warmer. Leaving the car we soon heard the Wetland’s Cetti’s Warbler he seems to be a permanent fixture there now. Yesterday’s still air and blanket of fog must have been amplifying the horrendous traffic noise as it didn’t seem so bad this morning allowing us to pick up the Grasshopper Warbler from a good way off, a Blackcap was in fine voice just outside the reserve’s main gate. Through the gate we went full of eager anticipation – what would the night have delivered for us? A minor detour down to the Viewing Platform gave us an answer, a Reed Warbler, well away from where we heard the one yesterday and a Sedge Warbler (135, MMLNR #88) were singing when you could hear them over the vocal argy-bargy of two Cetti’s Warblers. The water was very quiet with a Great Crested Grebe being pick of the bunch.
Continuing on our way we heard a second Grasshopper Warbler in one of their ‘traditional’ areas on the other side of the path, good stuff! Song Thrushes were noticeably loud this morning an there were several Chiffchaffs but so far we hadn’t heard a Willow Warbler.
Look - no fog!

In the scrub we heard our second Blackcap of the day, both in the same places we heard them yesterday morning. Other than a noisily clacking Blackbird, the cause of the commotion we couldn’t find, the scrub was quiet.
The scrape could be seen today and held a pair of Shelducks and a pair of Shovelers along with eight Teal but no waders. At the very start of embankment we heard our only singing Willow Warbler of the morning, in the bushes we’d just passed and then our third Grasshopper Warbler reeling from by the new ponds and from the reeds on the opposite side the same Reed Warbler as yesterday then a third of those down by the bridge. A scan of the fields was disappointing with only a Magpie and pair of Grey Lag Geese hitting the notebook.
Once again we didn’t do the full circuit but retraced our steps seeing no dew-laden cobwebs bedecking the Teasels today. 

Three Stock Doves did a couple of laps of the island and looking at the back of the scrape, out of sight from the other viewpoint, there were still no waders to be seen. There were at least a dozen Sand Martins hawking low over the water now but still no Swallows or House Martins for us here.
In the scrub a movement at the edge of the path caught our eye, recently fledged Song Thrush which was a nice surprise. Also on the path there was a dollop of recently laid Fox scat…was the owner of that causing the Blackbird’s anxiety earlier?
A little further up the path a male Linnet sang from a trackside shrub but wouldn’t allow a close enough approach to get a decent pic of him.
It is a Linnet - honest!
By now time was running short and we aimed for the car not hearing the second Grasshopper Warbler as we passed. Outside the reserve gate the Blackcap was still singing and a few yards further on we could hear the original Grasshopper Warbler. We spotted LR coming towards us and waited for him close to the Gropper.
After a chat we headed back to the car passing a non-singing Willow Warbler feeding in the allotment hedge on the way. It was back at the car we noticed that the hedge had been heavily flailed so that there wasn’t twig remaining and no cover or shelter along the roadside at all…Noooooooo who would do such a thing now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Txts from SD about Great Northern Divers and Merlins out to sea had us grabbing the scope as soon as we got to work but it was to no avail we'd missed all the action and the sea was deadly quiet by the time we got there. 
It was little better at lunchtime, the excitement was on the beach where a Ringed Plover was performing a super display flight. It wasn’t until a dog walker went past that we realised there was another bird there too, on the sand. This flushed and our Ringed Plover followed it calling like mad as it towered out over the sea – trouble was this second bird was smaller and slighter so probably not a Ringed Plover…so why was it being displayed too??? Have we missed a grounded Little Ringed Plover or was it something else. Further down the beach was a second Ringed Plover but this one wasn’t displaying and was sat with half a dozen summer plumaged Dunlins.
Where to next? There won't be an early morning safari tomorrow but we'll be having a look at something somewhere during the day that's for sure.
In the meantime let us know who's been displaying to the wrong sorts in your outback.


Warren Baker said...

Thanks for sending me the fog Davyman ....can I have the Gropper now!

cliff said...

Love the way that gorse lights up that 1st photo.
I had an hour at the mere both Friday & Saturday but I couldn't pick up your groppers - although yesterday it was only 4.5c plus a chilly wind when I parked up so the temp may have cooled their enthusiasm. I did hear Blackcap & Willow Warbler though & Seed Warblers/Redge Warblers in 3 locations - I can't tell 'em apart, I need to spend sometime listening to their song on the internet, dunno if it'll sink in though.
Heard/saw/photo'd Willow Warblers at the park.