Saturday, 19 May 2012

Going for a Toddle

Reed Bunting

Friday was a rerun of last Sunday, and 2 Wednesdays ago.  In the car park we saw a Kestrel hovering some distance away, whilst a pair of Linnets flew over & young Starlings were squawking all around us.   I was also vaguely aware of parking next to a small hatchback parked at awkward right-angles which had heavily condensed windows.  As more people arrived & car doors banged the young couple under the duvet began to wake up.  More of them later...

The morning especially was bitterly cold, and there was a biting easterly wind all day, but it was less penetrating in the afternoon.  We followed the same route & saw Carrion Crow, Goldfinch before we reached the first fishing Lake.  We heard the distinctive, tedious song of a Reed Warbler, and tried looking for it.  Although the band of reeds was fairly narrow, this was much easier said than done.  The bird that came in with food in its beak turned out to be a Willow Warbler, which had a nest between the bank and the reedbed.  The Reed Warbler was actually much nearer the water, but was very difficult to see.  When we reached the first alley we were immediately greeted by a singing Chiffchaff, followed by a Blackcap, Wren, and a wheezing Greenfinch.  The latter were visible on the wires once we emerged into the open again.  In the afternoon its place was taken by a Tree Sparrow
 Reed Bunting
 A Lesser Black-backed Gull flew over as we moved towards a very confiding Reed Bunting.  As we crept ever nearer a male Kestrel flew fairly close to us, closely followed by some Swifts and we flushed a Song Thrush which dived into a hedge.  We hadn’t gone much further when we heard a scolding Whitethroat swiftly followed by a singing Sedge Warbler.  This was the first of many Sedge Warblers which had flooded into the site since Monday.  The rest of the birds were similar to previous visits with extra Whitethroats and Sedge Warblers.  Richard picked up one of the presumed Short-eared Owl pellets, which consisted largely of fur and one tiny bone.  So, the SEO supposition seems to be correct.  
Whitethroat - against a dull background
 Whitethroats - against an OTT background!
 Orange-Tip - now you see him
 Orange-Tip - Going
 Orange-Tip - Gone - Now you don't see him - almost!
 We trekked to the pumping station & I slithered down the bank where I could see a distant kingfisher, but before the 1st of the am group joined me it had moved off, presumably heading in a northerly direction.  When I tried to repeat the experience in the afternoon an angler had been down the bank and opened a "Go Fishing" Jelly Fishing Lure & just thrown all 3 pieces of unused plastic packing down at the water’s edge.  Apparently, this isn't an isolated angling behaviour.  I was regaled by stories of fishermen on Beverley Beck having lunch at the water's edge & then throwing the plastic containers in the beck.  They don't appear to realise that if everyone followed their example there wouldn't be any fish for future anglers!   I carried all the rubbish back to the car park for disposal where it would hopefully cause less harm to the environment.  A Great Spotted Woodpecker was present on both occasions.  In the afternoon it was perched on a double telegraph pole before flying into one of the pumping station’s gardens.  There were several Tree Sparrows in this area, and a single Moorhen.
Possible Short-eared Owl Pellets
 Willow Warbler
On the return journey a Magpie was the final bird seen flying over the playing field.  I returned home for lunch, but when I arrived back most of the pm crowd were already assembled.  The ‘courting couple’ had driven off in my absence, but had already returned & legs were seen pointing towards the car’s roof!  When we returned 2 hours later they had finally gone for good, after presumably spending the previous night in the car park as well as at least 5 hours since I was there.  I'm sure they found the car park much busier than they had expected.  The pm session was pretty much a repeat of the am session, although there were slightly less small passerine birds in evidence & the Reed Warblers were impossible to see.  One highlight was a Sedge Warbler, which flew around is in a near perfect circle, without perching in the open too prominently.  A final highlight was a confiding Willow warbler singing clearly in of all things...a Willow.  The general consensus was that this was a very interesting location, and most people were keen to return and it is to be hoped the next visit will coincide with more amenable weather conditions. 

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