Thursday, 10 May 2012

The One That Got Away

Thursday was a rerun of Tuesday, but the songbirds were a lot quieter, especially in the very strong afternoon winds.  Despite this the morning started well with Yellow Wagtail on the journey and a Short-eared Owl shortly after leaving the cars.  We saw & heard mainly the same species on Tuesday, with the Grasshopper Warbler again providing one of the highlights.  It was a very hard bird to photograph.  However, a new bird in was a Garden Warbler.  This sang beautifully several times, but was even harder to see than the Grasshopper Warbler!  In the afternoon these were both ones that got away, as we could no longer hear or see either of these birds.
It had rained hard in the night and the dykes, ditches and streams were much muddier, so there was no sign of the Kingfisher – it was one which got away.  A male Linnet was one of the final birds at the site in the morning, and on the return journey 2 male Yellow Wagtails proved highly popular.  It was just a shame that the Common Sandpiper had moved on – another one that got away.
One of the first things we saw in the morning was a Wren’s nest, which was directly in the centre of the road leading to a pumping station.  Conversely, one of the last things the pm group saw was a quite different nest left abandoned in the centre of an Otter-path.  There can be little doubt that both these nests had been predated.  Any ideas of what species made the second nest would be gratefully received.
An addition in the afternoon was a Cuckoo singing from a plantation of Poplars.  It flew over the shooting estate, but half an hour later it returned to its earlier position. Towards the end of the afternoon session my phone rang.  I thought it was going to be another company wanting to sell me a mobile phone, and I was prepared to hang up, but was relieved to discover it was the reserve warden, asking if I’d seen the Red Kite.  We had failed to pick it up as it was directly behind us.  Everyone swung round & were able to see a Kite as it flew in a Westerly direction, struggling against the strong southerly wind.  Apparently, this was the second of a pair.  Although the first one got away, we were lucky enough to latch on to the 2nd bird.  There is no doubt without the reserve warden’s call one of the highlights of the late afternoon would have been missed.  

Yellow Wagtail (c) 2012 Richard Whateley
 Yellow Wagtail
 Short-eared Owl (c) 2012 Richard Whateley
 Short-eared Owl (c) 2012 Richard Whateley
 Mute Swans (incl V636)
 Avocet (c) 2012 Richard Whateley
 Common Tern (c) 2012 Richard Whateley
 Sedge Warbler (c) 2012 Richard Whateley
 Grasshopper Warbler
 Linnet (c) 2012 Richard Whateley
 Mistle Thrush (c) 2012 Richard Whateley
 Wren's Nest
[Above] A Grasshopper Warbler, perfectly framed - just a shame the camera focussed on the twigs!


Tim Jones said...

Hi Michael,

Where abouts was that Mute Swan in flight? Looks like it could be a bird that was rung in the Lower Derwent Valley, if you give me a few more details (date and location) I'll pass this on for you


Michael Flowers said...

Hi Tim,

They were at the very northern edge of Tophill Low flying SW in a group of 5 Swans. Taken today at 11.30 am.

Let me know if you find anything out