Sunday, 3 May 2009

Tophill Dawn Chorus

All pics for this post (c) 2009 Vince Cowell
Reed Warbler
Blackcap (female)
Song Thrush
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Pochard (female) - one for Maurice!
Mute Swan
Mute Swans
Record shot of Common Terns (background) with Oystercatcher & Black-headed Gulls
Ruddy Duck
Ugly Bleeder
Record shot of Roe Deer
I was up at 3.15 for the Dawn Chorus at Tophill Low which commenced at 5am. It was a good turnout for such an isolated spot at such an hour. In addition to Richard Hampshire, the warden, most people were from my birdwatching course including: Gerald, Mike & Bruce (Tues am); Angela, Maggie & Polly (Thurs am), Vince (Fri am) & Julie; but also present were Gill (friend of Bruce); plus 2 young volunteers (sorry, I didn’t catch your names). Surprisingly, no one from the afternoon courses put in an appearance! I actually heard my 1st bird – a Blackbird – while I was having my breakfast at 4.15, so the chorus had already started when the session began. Immediately, on leaving the Visitor Centre we heard Great Tit, Chaffinch & Blackcap. As we were walking along the road towards ‘O’ reservoir we heard at least 4 Wrens holding territory, plus a few more Chaffinches. In the trees along the north end of ‘O’ reservoir was an impressive Mistle Thrush with some dogfighting Swallows; while Richard pointed out a Grey Wagtail on the roof of some of the derelict Yorkshire Water buildings. Along ‘O’ reservoir was our first Coal Tit, plus a hidden Chiffchaff followed by a Willow Warbler we could actually see. In the woods toward Watton Borrow Pits were Goldcrests singing their high-pitched rhythmic songs, whilst in the open area either side of the path were Sedge Warblers – occasionally indulging in their all-too-brief song-flights, plus another Willow Warbler & a Song Thrush. From the hide we heard a Whitethroat, but saw a Barn Owl, & a Wheatear & Maggie spotted a Kingfisher. From the hide over-looking SMW we saw and heard a Reed Warbler, which gave brief views as it skulked in the reeds below us. We had heard a Cuckoo throughout the morning, but it was from here we managed to glimpse the bird as it flew across the open area towards SME. This view was a “lifer” for Angela. In the entrance to the path to the double hides we heard a Lesser Whitethroat; whilst from the hide we heard 2 Sedge Warblers, plus we watched a female Linnet carrying nesting material, being ‘supervised’ by her concerned spouse! From SME 1 we saw our first Common Terns of the year, which were nesting on a gravel island alongside an Oystercatcher and some Black-headed Gulls. Our 1st Reed Bunting was glimpsed from the hide on South Lagoon; whilst from the hide on North Lagoon Mike spotted a female Blackcap, which was eventually joined by her mate. Other birds seen included: Pochard, Tufted & Ruddy Ducks, Little Ringed Plover & some rather noisy Greylag Geese! There were a couple of heavy showers, which muted the birdsong towards the end of the morning, but luckily we were in the hides when the worst of the rain fell! When we got back to the Visitor Centre Richard ensured everyone who wanted had a hot drink & biscuits - I may have been mistaken, but I thought I overheard someone say, it was the best part of the event!!!!!


Mike Randall Bird Photography said...

Great enthusiasm Michael to be up so early!
Great Reed Warbler shots by Vince.
If someone did say drink and biscuits were the best bit perhaps they need to be on another course!!!

Michael Flowers said...

Thanks Mike, Starting to droop now, so will be having an early night. I'm not sure if they were joking about the tea & bics, but I hope so!

Anonymous said...

Thoroughly enjoyed my first Birding with Flowers experience so thank you very much Michael. Great to see Vince's photos too. Cheers, Gill.