Sunday, 30 March 2008

slow additions

failed to see the Swallows reported yesterday but a Little Ringed Plover flew west today making the annual score 118; the Velvet Scoter showed well in the morning and allowed some record shots, a male Bittern was stalking around in the open this afternoon looking for a booming rival, up to 30 Chiffchaffs on the patch with 15 Sand Martins, the Red-throated Diver still hanging on and I actually saw the Cetti's this afternoon; a male Marsh Harrier came in from the Humber in the morning but there were no other spectacular fly overs!

Saturday, 29 March 2008

at last a migrant

today has seen the first big push of Chiffchaffs and Sand Martins into the patch taking the year list up by one to 117 before the rain set in again

Monday, 17 March 2008

March 17th +2

I was up at 05:30 for a Barn owl session but by 06:30 there was 100% cloud cover and no sign of  a respite so I decided on a walk around the patch before starting surveys; no sign of the Firecrest on Waters' Edge but the Mealy Redpoll was showing again and at the Pasture Road entrance a wheezing female Brambling was number 115 for the year; I had heard a brief Brambling like note in the same spot the previous day so it was good to get confirmation; the sailing pit was covered in diving duck but the first sh*t machine walker flushed several birds including amazingly the first-summer drake Velvet Scoter which flew to the other end of the pit and had a bathe before returning to the Humber so 116 for the year and two hard to get species in as many days but still no Sand Martin, probably not surprising given that today felt as cold as any day in the winter with the freezing north-easterly

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Firecrest and swan

Today provided links to all of the old bird finding cliches and proverbs;  
first: it doesn't matter how many times you check your local patch if there is something good lurking it will be found by someone who a) has never been there before or b) only visits the site about twice a year; 
Second; ---good birds show themselves to visitors but skulk like hell when you are looking for them
Third-----You don't find birds while you are stood talking ----
Fourth ---it always pays to be in the right place at the right time

hence it was today that I was stood nattering with Simon and Karen on Waters' Edge, still not having completed the usual circuit when occasional, very occasional, visitors Pete and colleague appeared to announce the presence of a Firecrest just 50m around the corner where I would have been if I had not stopped talking for 20 minutes----had I not stopped I may have self found the crest, had I been elsewhere I may well have missed the bird altogether so all scenarios were well covered; the bird was quite showy although in dense blackthorn and in terrible light to start with and then it became really elusive and only showed a couple of times in 3 hours this afternoon
Past records from the local patch are as follows:
male in song Far Ings March 24th 1982, 
male Far Ings March 30th -April 1st 1994, 
one in next door neighbour's garden, heard while washing the car (very sad) flew over garden Nov 4th 1995 
Viewing area November 10th - 13th 2000
Barton Reedbed April 3rd 2001
Viewing area October 14th 2004

Then as I was about to leave WE tonight at 17:20hrs a flock of 7 Whoopers flew west calling to complete a two tick day and take the tally to 114 and the self found list to 111
a couple of poor record shots of the crest and an artful image of the departing Whoopers are shown above---more of the Firecrest are on Pewit

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

near misses

in the last 10 days there have been rather too many near misses which seem to offer bad omens for the patch list; just up the estuary a Glaucous Gull has been roosting on Read's Island and heading off south-west to feed; an Iceland Gull on the same tip may also have been roosting within sight of the patch on RI; I managed to miss the short staying Mandarin which was photod two weeks back and on Sunday a Kittiwake flew west at Alkborough no doubt having passed through the Barton territorial zone; also in the last two days there have been some odd March waders in the area with 23 Grey Plovers at Alkborough and 2 flying west towards my patch while I was at Goxhill yesterday along with 16 Bar-tailed Godwits; the number of Goldeneye on the patch ponds has increased to 115 as the New Holland flock starts to disperse but the Velvet Scoter which has been with them all winter has so far failed to be attracted to the patch as have the 14 Whoopers which have also spent the winter within scope range just down the Humber at New Holland. 
With some Firecrests on the coast I checked all the singing Goldcrests yesterday but to no avail so my only recent addition has been to put Mediterranean Gull on the self found year list with a first summer on Waters' Edge on Sunday and presumably the same bird on the foreshore yesterday--photo above;
So the year list sticks on 112 and the self found list rises to 110----

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

first migrants--a tick and a half

things are certainly on the move; last week there were 7 Stonechats west of the bridge with a further 5 on Waters' Edge; today the WE flock held 6 birds with a further pair on the foreshore; of the two Rock Pipits that appeared today one was a stunning littoralis (surely worth at least half a tick) while the other looks as if it may have been (pic above); the Mealy Redpoll on WEdge was showing rather well (shots on Pewit) and the site also produced the first Chiffchaff of the year, an expected March list addition taking the annual tally to 112
Other local goodies still present are the two Long-tailed Ducks (above) plus the Red-throated Diver