Friday, 4 October 2013

Variety is the Spice of Life

After the fierce Spurn winds it was very calm on Thursday at Blacktoft.  We went to Marshland, and what a good decision that turned out to be.  The light was perfect and after a few minutes some waders began to move towards the hide.  A single Greenshank was one of the star birds, coming the closest we've ever had in a decade of viewing.  It was only afterwards that I realised that this was the nearest I've ever been to a Greenshank.  Closely was a male Ruff, and a variety of juveniles.  There were at least 3 Black-tailed Godwits and a few scattered Redshank.  Further behind was a flock of Dunlin, and on the same marsh were a few scattered distant Snipe.  The Lapwing looked very colourful in the early morning sunshine, and there were also a couple of Shoveler and some Teal still in eclipse.  However, this idyll wasn't to last because a young female Sparrowhawk made an abortive effort to catch a Stock Dove.  The dove flew across the water with the Sparrowhawk in tow, and this sent up all the waders.  They went, and never returned while we waited.  

 Juvenile Ruff (left) & Greenshank
 Male Ruff
 Male Ruff
 Male Ruff

 Black-tailed Godwit
 Lapwing & Dunlin
 Dunlin & Ruff
At Xerox there were a few Ruff, but the site was dominated by Teal, and Shoveler, which seem to be nearly out of eclipse.  Later, the Sparrowhawk turned up again & it had quite a dog-fight with a Carrion Crow.

Then we made the long walk to Singleton, but this had dried up so there was very little to see here.  We did spot a distant, soaring Marsh Harrier, and a charm of Goldfinches were demolishing the thistles right in front of us, but there was relatively little to see, although some members convinced themselves they had seen a Water Rail.

Townend wasn't much better with a distant Greenshank, and a slightly less distant Black tailed Godwit and 2 Redshanks.  A Buzzard was seen being mobbed by crows.

First hide was a waste of time, as was Ousefleet, but we did see some Canada & Greylag geese grazing on the way there.  A shelduck flew past, and it later dropped in to Marshland.  We had almost reached the visitor centre when suddenly the gabbling of geese was heard, and looking up we spotted several skeins of geese heading east following the course of the river.  

In the afternoon the waders weren't so plentiful or so close as the morning, but new species seen included: Kingfisher, Marsh Harrier, Water Rail, but still no Bearded Tit. 
Long-tailed Tit
 Hairy Caterpillar 

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