Wednesday, 23 May 2018

St Aidan's One-Off Special

'The Dream' or 'goal'

I set off in mist, and at times it seemed to disappear, but at others it got worse, but it wasn't too bad at the final destination.  Everyone had arrived by 9.30, so we set off promptly.  We looked at the Stock Doves on the dragline, and then started off down the hill.  Right at the beginning we saw Skylarks, and a Sedge warbler, which showed very well.  We went on to see several here, which is a lot better than we have had at many of our local traditional sites this year.  We saw the normal two species of geese on the ground, and some Tufted Ducks in the first pool, some Lapwings displaying nearby, and not long after we made our first sharp left we saw our first Reed Warbler.
Displaying Stock Doves
 Stock Dove
Stock Dove (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
Sedge Warbler

 Sedge Warbler (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Reed Bunting 
 Reed Bunting (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
Tufted Duck (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
When we reached the first junction we turned left and saw the first warning sign of the presence of Black-necked Grebes.  We checked every dark bird, but failed to see one.  We heard the Bittern or "Bog-thumper", but it was quite distant at first.  we weaved our way among the roadbeds and added pochard, a flying Shoveler, and a couple of isolated Great Crested Grebes.  We heard the whinnying cries of Little Grebes, but we failed to glimpse one.  We also heard a couple of strange cries , but I wasn't able to put a name to the calls.  As we walked the booming got louder, and by following the paths round we circumnavigated the individual, which of course had been seen in flight an hour before our arrival.  We did manage a couple of quick views of Reed Warblers, but they weren't as obliging as the Sedge Warblers.  At times throughout the walk a pair of Swifts flew over our heads, with a maximum of three birds seen at any one time.  A Willow Warbler was heard singing from a thigh array of vegetation at the furthest extent of our walk, but it was time to head back.  
Coot and Young (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Young Coot (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 happy families (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Real Family life (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Tasty! (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
Mute Swans (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Pochard (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Great Crested Grebe
 Great Crested Grebe (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Record shot of Reed Warbler
 Lapwing (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Crow with Frog
On the return journey we did actually see a Meadow Pipit, and heard their song flights a few times, but they certainly didn't appear as numerous here as they were last year.  We noticed someone with a scope set up in the car park, so we were pleased on checking to discover it was trained on a Little Owl.  As we watched this one another flew towards the dragline and out of sight.  A few minutes later the other bird followed it, but only after almost everyone had examined the sitting individual through Symon's scope.  
Meadow Pipit 
 Meadow Pipit (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Little Owl (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Little Owl
 Little Owl
 Flag Irises (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Flag iris 
 Female Orange-Tip
 Bush Vetch (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Green Beetle
Of course the afternoon group saw a Black-necked Grebe, but it was very distant.  there were no Swallows, Swifts or martins after lunch, but a couple of "Sea Swallows" made up for that.  Rather disappointingly it was apparently too hot for the Little owls in the afternoon!  
Afternoon reality

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