Thursday, 13 September 2012

Slim Pickings

On Thursday we returned to a venue we hadn't visited for 2 years, as they were insulting to us last time & demanded a months' notice before our next visit. Since our last visit someone seems to have physically removed all the birds. It could be the time of year, but there were very few birds of interest.

From the 1st hide we were told we had just missed a Bittern, but there were plenty of Coots and a very distant Little Grebe. A Gadwall flew in, but there wasn't much else to see until a pair of Great Crested Grebes made their stately way from the back of a reedbed and swam directly under the hide.

Great Crested Grebes (c) 2012 Richard Whateley

 Great Crested Grebe (c) 2012 Richard Whateley
 Great Crested Grebes
 House Sparrow (c) 2012 Richard Whateley

We left the hide and walked along the green tunnel, but this was also devoid of birds. We eventually heard some tits but even these remained out of sight. We bumped into a volunteer cutting back greenery, and he informed us that this path would be closed next week due to heavy machinery moving in to create a new scrape & install a new hide. As he was talking some migrating Pink-footed Geese could be heard, but they were hidden by the thick hedgerow. We climbed up the river bank and immediately located a pair of Redshank feeding on the mud. A closer inspection led us to find 4 Black-tailed Godwit probing the hinterland between river and mud. They are a lot larger an Redshank, but they had lost their breeding colours so blended into the background much better.

Black-tailed Godwit
 Black-tailed Godwit & Redshank (c) 2012 Richard Whateley
 Sparrowhawk (c) 2012 Richard Whateley
 We carried on to the next hide. Again it was very quiet from here, but Richard spotted a Sparrowhawk flying low over the water before it landed in a tree opposite to us. It stayed in the area for 20 minutes from where we were able to see its bright pinkish undersides. While we were observing the male Sparrowhawk another tiny raptor raptor swept over the area. On closer inspection it turned out to be a juvenile Hobby. Unfortunately, only a brief glimpse was permitted before it flew over the receded & then over the hedgerow which obscured it from our sight.

A walk round the perimeter of the site brought the contact calls of Willow Warblers to our ears, but the most constant sounds were the melancholy songs of several Robins. At the final hide there was very little to see beyond a Migrant Hawker, some concealed Moorhens and some fighting Coots. 

There were even fewer birds to see in the afternoon, but we did see one of our earliest juvenile Goldeneyes ever, and a soaring Buzzard over the Lincolnshire Wolds. I'll have to see if this venue improves during the next few weeks, as otherwise it may be worth dropping this venue completely from the itinerary. 
Common Blue Damselfly
 Record shot of Cormorant (c) 2012 Richard Whateley
 Record shot of Juvenile Goldeneye
 Ruddy Darter
 Migrant Hawker eating a fly

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