Thursday, 13 September 2012

Visit to the Dentist Required

Wednesday saw us return to last Tuesday's venue. However this week it was low tide, so the birds weren't as close to the hides as last week. We sheltered from the heavy rain in the Visitor Centre where we saw several Ruff and 5 Dunlin towards the left, and Teal, Shoveler and a single Wigeon on the right. Tony saw what he thought was a Marsh Harrier flying east, which the young Scottish RSPB officer was too polite to correct. On investigation it proved to be a Bittern, which was much more exciting for everyone. We had already seen a bona fide Marsh Harrier too, so we had the best of both sightings. A Long-tailed Tit flock passed by and some of the group saw a small, sharp-billed bird in tow, which was probably a Willow Warbler.

Konik Pony
 Long-tailed Tit
 When the rain stopped we set off to last week's premier hide. There was plenty to see here again, but nearly everything was much further away. The nearest bird was a juvenile Redshank & a couple of Snipe flew in. Spotted Redshank and Ruff were already in situ, but a couple of Greenshank flew right into the back of the site and shortly before we left 3 Black-tailed Godwit arrived - one of which still had plenty of breeding colour.  One surprise was an adult Avocet with 3 youngsters in tow, which were seen from 2 hides before setting off west.  Perhaps they were breeders from further north on their way south - but records this late in September are rather unusual at this reserve.  In the afternoon a distant Great Crested Grebe was sighted from the most easterly hide.
Juvenile Redshank
 Black-tailed Godwits (far left & far right)
The far hide was less profitable with mainly the odd duck species, a distant Marsh Harrier and a family of Little Grebes. We retraced our steps, but the hide near the visitor centre was very poor. The photocopying hide was a little better, but didn't add any new species. The main entertainment was provided by the fierce marshland ponies. 
 Spotted Redshanks & Lapwing
 Marsh Harrier
We then tried the one hide on a different alignment to the others. Here were 15 or so roosting Spotted Redshanks, which were later joined by a very white-headed male Ruff and a couple of others, plus plenty of Lapwings. A total of 6 then 9 and later 15 & eventually as people got their eyes in 18 Snipe were asleep at first, but then set about stitching for food. In the heavy rain the afternoon group saw 6 Ringed Plovers, a fairly unusual bird at this site - they had obviously dropped in to refuel in the bad weather.

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