Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Voice Of the Turtle Absent - so far

On Tuesday we went to a site along the old Hull to Withernsea railway line. There was a very cold wind in the car park, but from here we could see a pair of Marsh Harriers, and a female Sparrowhawk soaring. On the 1st lake there was a healthy population of 23 Tufted Ducks and a pair of Greylag Geese. These were soon joined by another pair. There wasn't as much birdsong round the pools as usual - probably a mixture of cutting winds, lack of green vegetation, and some bird species are still running late. 
Yellow Wagtail [Blue-headed type Female] (c) 2013 Chris Cox

 Yellow Wagtail [male]
Willow Warbler
 Sedge Warbler
A visit to the hill top had the same result - very few birds. Normally there are lots of warblers here, but there were none, there were also no Turtle Doves yet. There were a couple of Long-tailed Tits, a Chaffinch, a few Swallows flew over and plenty of Woodpigeons zipped by. We walked along the North Lake but apart from the ducks & geese, and the massive carp there was very little to see. From the Path of Brian we saw a Whitethroat, a Reed Bunting, and an absolutely stonking almost blood-stained male Linnet. However, the biggest reaction came when a Meadow Pipit performed its parachuting song flight.  
Lesser Whitethroat
 Blackcap [female]
On to the second hill, which was better insulated from the strong winds by the thick hawthorns, and consequently there were more birds to see here. The morning group watched a Kingfisher fishing for a few minutes as they climbed the path on the edge overlooking the south lake. A Great Crested Grebe was also glimpsed a couple of times before the police diving team arrived, and again after they'd gone. In the far corner of the lake we saw a Heron hunkered down on its nest, and it was in this area in the afternoon that a Kingfisher flew around for several minutes before disappearing into a corner. In the sheltered area we saw a Willow Warbler both am & pm, a Lesser Whitethroat in the am, and a pair of Blackcaps in the afternoon. 
Record Shot of Heron on Nest
 Speckled Wood
We had a look near the drain, but this area was receiving the full force of the biting winds. A female Kestrel flew into an Elder bush where she perched for several minutes. A whitethroat called be heard on our first visit, but there weren't many small birds. We carried on to the old railway line where the morning session had great views of a Whitethroat. Along here in the afternoon Joan spotted a female Yellow Wagtail among the lambs. Goldfinches flew along the hedges, and there were Sand Martins heading north from across the fields.  
 Police Diving Team
In the pavilion area we saw a Buzzard heading east, and at lunch time Steve saw a Kingfisher zipping towards a probable nest site. In the afternoon we saw a confiding recently-arrived Sedge Warbler, another Whitethroat, and on the return journey Jenny spotted a bright male Yellow Wagtail at the top of a bare tree, and we marked where it landed - rough grassland at the rear of the site. Sure enough when we checked this out we were able to find a pair in some long grass. The site recorder has never seen this species here before, so our records could be the first for this venue.

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