Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Faint Signs of Spring at Last

The aurgeries for the spring course haven't been exactly brilliant. The 1st session depended on a major influx of summer visitors. However, the 1st Chiffchaffs are only just starting to trickle in, and there doesn't seem to be any sign of the Willow Warblers, Sedge Warblers, or even Sand Martins and Swallows. We therefore switched to North Cave Wetlands. Unfortunately, several people didn't seem to pick up the change of plan message, so despite waking at 4.30 I had to scramble around checking everyone had got the message. On top of that there was also a bad crash on the eastbound A63, so even getting there wasn't a smoothly run campaign.

 Little Grebe (c) 2013 Maggie Bruce
On arrival I opened the car door to find my eardrums assaulted by the pleasant sound of a singing Skylark, and the less relaxing 'klute-klute' of the Avocets, but all these were drowned out by the angry squawking of the blasted Black-headed Gulls.
The morning group were cheered by the underwater diving antics of the Little Grebe, but even here the brief kleptoparasitism attempt of a Black-headed Gull had a detrimental effect. The dabchick was still present after lunch, but a pair of Teal also sailed right past the hide. In the very strong winds we did manage to see the usual suspects including: Gadwall, Shoveler, Shelduck, Redshank, Lapwing, Pochard, Wigeon, immature Herring Gulls, and immature Great Black Backed Gulls. 
Little Grebe [MJF]
 Jizz - fluffy bottom

There was one corner of Carp Lake which did have several Chiffchaffs present, and they were well fed enough to argue over the insect-eating rights of the locale. There was only one in the afternoon, and it had moved to the perimeter hedge. Other favourites included the Red-legged Partridges under the Barn Owl box, which had been taken over by a Stock Dove. 
 Chiffchaff (c) 2013 Maggie Bruce
Reedbed Lake contained one Black-tailed Godwit both am & pm, plus there were a scattering of Redshank, Lapwing and in the am only a couple of Little Ringed Plovers.
Silhouette of Black-tailed Godwit
 Cormorants (c) 2013 Maggie Bruce
 Ringed Plover (c) 2013 Maggie Bruce
 Common Rat (c) 2013 Maggie Bruce
Snipe were seen just before lunch from Turret Hide, and some Avocets, but nothing new was added at first hide. In the afternoon though Linda managed to find a single Snipe from 1st hide feeding quietly partially concealed among the Wigeon. It was a moot question what had happened to the several pairs of Great Crested Grebes, which had been seen indulging in their courtship display 3 weeks ago. They couldn't be found during either session today.  

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