Monday, 9 April 2012

The Day The Rains Came


Arriving to a blustery Grove entrance at 5.30 this morning where Mark “Chidders” McChidwick was already in situ and raring to go, so we headed to the Ramp where the grey ominous skies metred down a constant barrage of drizzle and showers throughout. With very little of note from the Ramp except 5 Shelduck, 4 Wigeon and the pair of Pintail (no Garganey) we took the counter-clockwise route around the reserve for a change. Plenty of Blackbirds and Song Thrushes singing in the dawn chorus while 12 Cetti’s Warblers, 9 Sedge Warblers, 1 Reed Warbler and numerous Chiffchaffs also made the note book during our travels. Marsh Harriers were more obliging today with 9 birds seen and a blue flash heading east down the river was the first sighting of a Kingfisher in many a week. At the Water Meadows there was no sign of yesterday’s Grey Plover, but 2 Green Sandpipers and 2 Ruff were still present. Approaching the Lake Tower hide a small group of four hirrundines consisted of 2 Sand Martins, 1 Swallow and our first House Martin of the year. On the lake along with 82 Shoveler were 1 Great-crested Grebe, 47 Tufted Duck and 48 Mute Swans. And the Alder Wood produced just 2 Blackcaps. The Marsh hide provided us with a single Greenshank, 2 Green Sandpipers, 5 Redshank, 1 Little Egret, 5 Snipe and 3 Ruff plus we also met up with Brendan who had had 6 Garganey, 3 still from the Ramp on our return. With little happening the three of us drove up to Collard’s in hope of a new tick but all we added were a single Corn Bunting on road side wires enroute while the lake held 1 drake Pochard, 48 Tufted Duck, 1 female type Goldeneye and not a single Gull. Trenley Park Wood was a bit blown out so attempts for Lesser-spotted Woodpecker proved futile but we did add Coal Tit to the tally. Brendan went back to Stodmarsh while Mark and I decided to try out Westbere Lake. Several hundred Gulls were gathered near the boating club which were mainly Herring Gulls of various plumages/ages but there were 60ish Lesser Black-backed Gulls with them at least 3 Great Black-backs and a very smart adult summer Yellow-legged Gull as well. Eight Black-heaaded and 7 Common Gulls were also around plus 1 Grey Wagtail, 12 Great-crested Grebes, 3 Canada Geese, 1 Green Sandpiper and a mixed flock of 60-80 Sand Martins and Swallows.
adult Yellow-legged Gull - Westbere Lake

adult Yellow-legged Gull - Westbere Lake showing primary pattern

adult Yellow-legged Gull - Westbere Lake

adult Yellow-legged Gull - Westbere Lake showing primaries again

adult Yellow-legged Gull - Westbere Lake leaving

adult Yellow-legged Gull - Westbere Lake, and back out