Monday, 2 September 2013

A Week's Worth Of Witterings

Thought it was about time I wrote a blog post! I've certainly got a fair bit to write about, so I'll try and keep it brief and put in plenty of pretty pictures.

To start with, let's rewind a week to Bank Holiday Monday. Just before Jess and I were heading out for the day I received a phone call from Sue Smith who thought she had a Black Tern on Black Hole Marsh. I was there in a shot (half way through shaving!). Thankfully the Tern remained, although only just - it flew off north about a minute after I arrived!  It looked quite a pale one to me, and I don't remember ever seeing a juv Black Terns with a pale brown mantle (they've always appeared dark to me), but it was just a Black Tern. Not that that's a bad thing though as they're really scarce on patch - so a very welcome patch year tick. See pics HERE and HERE.

So I headed off to Sherbourne for the day a happy chappy. And totally unrelated to anything else on this post, look what we saw...
 
A gold post box!

And if you can't remember why there's these gold post boxes around...

I saw him win this medal....on telly. Well done Peter!

The following day saw me rushing down to Black Hole Marsh again, this time for a juv Little Gull seen from the Tower Hide. Sadly I was about five minutes too late despite my fastest sprint from the car park to the hide!  Oh well, you win some you loose some. I did see a juv Cuckoo though, and am sure it is a second bird as to me it seemed a lot more rufous than the the first bird (which hadn't been seen for at least a week before).

I didn't have much birdie time last week, but when I did (except for the Tern and Gull twitch) I went in search of autumn passerine migrants, hoping for a rare warbler, Ortolan or Wryneck. Sadly none of these materialised with my best find being a juv Osprey over Beer Head on Wednesday 28th. I first picked it up just offshore after the gulls went up from the camp site, then it came in and flew west right over our heads - luckily Karen and Ian weren't far away. 

My first of the autumn

Also on Beer Head on Wednesday morning were: 35 Yellow Wags, 26 Wheatear, 5 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler and singles of Grey Wag, Tree Pipit and Whinchat.  Despite these fairly good counts, they all felt like lingering migrants from the weekend/bank holiday fall.

There's a Whinchat in the lower pic

Thursday morning I thought I'd give Axe Cliff it's first visit of the autumn. No good to be honest as they haven't cut the crop yet so Ortolan potential = zero! Still, I had three Tree Pipits and a Yellow Wag over and a few Wheatear and a Spotted Flycatcher on the deck, so it wasn't a total waste of time.

Saturday saw me give Black Hole Marsh a proper look for the first time for over a week! It was the first time I saw the 'Curlew Sandpiper show' with at least 15 juveniles scattered about amongst the Dunlin and Ringed Plover...

Some are coming stupidly close to the hide too!

 Also present were two Little Ringed Plovers, a Ruff and this juv Turnstone...

Taking time out from stone turning and having a bit of chill time!

This afternoon I gave Black Hole Marsh another look. On the marsh was a similar selection of birds to Saturday, but a trip to the Tower Hide was certainly worthwhile.  I thought I heard Spotted Redshank call shortly after I arrived, and soon spied two likely suspects roosting up river from the Tower Hide, both clearly juvs. I got everyone on to them (everyone who was interested anyway!) but we had to wait a little while until we saw some head and bill - they were clearly very sleepy!  The rising tide pushed them about which allowed me to get this superb flight shot...

You won't see any better flight shots than this!

They eventually moved on to Black Hole Marsh and mingled with the Blackwits and Redshank.

Just before my visit to Black Hole Marsh I had a look around Lower Bruckland Ponds. Whenever I go here I always spend a lot longer wandering around than I was planning too as there's always so much to see and photograph!  Best of all today were a couple of lovely male Ruddy Darters...

Check out that body shape! Is that what they call an hour glass figure!??

I don't think I normally see Golden-ringed Dragonflies this late in the year, but have seen plenty recently including this showing one at LBP today...

One of my favs these

Along with the expected Migrant Hawkers...

The dragonfly of the autumn

It's not just dragonflies that distract me here, because as always there were lots of butterflies too. The best being the second flight period of Dingy Skippers...

Dull but sweet!

American waders are turning up all over the place at the moment - so I know where I'm going to be doing most my birding over the next week....

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