Monday, 9 May 2016

Operation Nightingale: Arriving Early Pays Off

All these really clear Nightingales taken before 9am!

I set off well before 7, and crossed the Humber Bridge about 7.10 and headed into deepest Lincolnshire. I arrived at the destination shortly before 8am. There were a lot of dog walkers already present. These are now allowed all over the reserve, instead of one particular walk, so the reserve isn't quite as dog-free as it should be, but at least they have to be kept on leads, and here they seemed to be obeying the injunction. There is also no evidence of mess begond the first few yards, so the locals must be better trained "down scarf"!
Nightingale between Songbursts
I went to the remnant of oak woodland first, and I hadn't been there long before I heard the thrilling song of a nightingale ahead of me. I managed to locate it singing by the side of the main trunk of a tree, and took a few snaps. It stayed there for several minutes before moving off and landing on an isolated dead branch, from which it sang for several minutes. I did a circuit of Coot Lake, and heard 5 individuals in total, plus several Garden Warblers, a few Blackcaps and plenty of Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs.
Garden Warbler from Saturday
When the morning participants arrived we went straight to the performance arena, and although the bird serenaded us for over 30 mins, it only gave very brief views until it was spotted high in a sycamore by Nancy and Pat. The latter got another view once it moved to the fence, but it evaded most people's attention. A circuit round Coot Lake had very similar results as earlier, but we returned to the Oak woodland where the Nightingale was still singing. Again the views were brief and sporadic, but on the walk back another was singing from thicker scrub, and everyone gained much better views as he sang from the depths of deep cover. Mission accomplished.
First view of a Nightingale I had
On the return journey we found a pair of Great Crested Grebes on the lake near the visitor centre, and a Mediterranean Gull was visible through the scope of the trust guide.
Mediterranean Gull (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
After lunch the Nightingales sang shorter bursts of song, but I'm pretty sure everyone saw at least one of them eventually!
Nightingale Gallery
The first bird again
Chiffchaff collecting insects for young
Immature Long-tailed Tit
Oak Apple Gall
Garden Escape?
Greater Stitchwort
Best Nightingale after 9am (c) Jane Robinson

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