Sunday morning’s wet and grey…so begins another birding day, enough paraphrasing and on with the news. I met with Pete Solly at the entrance this morning, it was nice catching up, and we birded the circuit in a similar yet different atmosphere. There was virtually no wind except a wisp of a westerly flutter and high whitish grey clouds that eventually became greyer and the wind ascending to a blustery west south west. There were nine Shelducks from the Ramp along with yesterday’s pair of Pintail, 9 Tufted Duck, 4 Wigeon and only 1 drake Garganey, although Brendan later had five there. A Bittern was booming to the west in the Marsh hide area and Marsh Harriers, although slow to arise, eventually made their presence known with 6 birds noted. The Feast hide held very little except a drake Pochard and 3 Tufted Duck and enroute to Harrison’s a lone Water Rail called out. Harrison’s Hide still a little under-achieving at the moment with just 8 Snipe, a couple of Lapwings and a gathering of Teal of any note and the ‘White House’ pool was missing yesterday’s Greenshank. The first 0f 6 Sedge Warblers was heard along the path towards the Marsh hide and that in turn produced 7 Ruff, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Redshank, 2 Green Sandpipers and 12 Snipe amongst the procreating Lapwings. Chiffchaffs a plenty throughout the tour but only 4 Blackcaps noted while on the lake at Stodmarsh there were 2 Great-crested Grebes, 4 Pochards and 25 Tufted Ducks. As we rounded the bend after the Lake Tower hide 1 then 3 followed by a further 10 Swallows plus 6 Sand Martins were hunting over the sheltered bushes and as we passed Paddy’s Bench the bird of the day, and possibly the year (so far), was spotted on the receding water line. A stonking (lol) looking winter plumaged Grey Plover was there to greet us. A very scarce and irregular visitor to the valley and not an easy one to connect with. Also on the Water Meadows were 1 Greenshank, 2 Green Sandpipers, 2 Ruff and 9 Water Pipits with at least three of the later in their nice pink summer attire.
Also here were a couple of Pied Wagtails and a White Wagtail while a Little Egret left the pool behind and disappeared over the fishing ponds out towards Seaton. Two of the Canada Geese were still on the Grazing Marsh and after Chiddy eventually joined me, after Pete and Brendan left, we went back via the lake where there were now 17 Swallows and 25 Sand Martins feeding over it and a couple of Bearded Tits pinged in the adjacent reed bed.
Two Gulls of note were an adult Lesser Black-backed and a 1st winter Common on the pool from the Ramp at Grove. Black-headed Gulls aside, not many others Gulls stop on the pool but often many hundreds pass over. A look around the Paddocks as we left saw us adding Redwing to the days tally alongside 4 Song Thrushes, 9 Blackbirds and a Green Woodpecker.
A stop off at Collard's on the way out added only 2 Black-headed Gulls plus 63 Tufted Duck and 6 Goldeneye two of wich were drakes.