Sunday, 26 April 2020

Avocets, Osprey and Gropper still

I have a couple of blog posts in the making at the moment, but I just wanted to slip this one in with all the latest from the house.

As I write this, sat in the conservatory with the back doors wide open, I can hear the 81st species of bird added to my lockdown house list.  Earlier this morning Phil found a couple of Avocet on Black Hole Marsh, which pleasingly I saw tonight during my evening exercise walk.  Once I had returned home a bedroom window vigil failed to show them, but they have been calling sporadically since it's got dark - which is rather nice as it happens to be one of my favourite wader calls.  This is what they looked like on Black Hole Marsh earlier this evening...

They were in stunning plumage, and on size a male and female

Species number 80 was an slightly overdue one, with a male Bullfinch (scoped I must add - it wasn't close!) late afternoon yesterday.

Back to today, and I was thrilled to see my fifth Osprey of the spring, which flew very low north over Primrose Way at 16:30.  So often when the gulls take off and start giving that distinctive 'there's a raptor coming' alarm call, it can take a while before you actually spot what it is that has spooked them.  Sometimes, well quite often really, you don't spot it at all.  But this time I looked up and it was right there just above roof top height, so impressive that I actually said "wow" out loud!  Of course by the time I got the camera out it was further north and had begun circling up, but I managed to grab the below pic.  This was our second Osprey of the day, as Kevin saw another fly NE over his place at 14:50.

A distinctive bird with broken tips on two of the primaries on its right wing, as well as the obvious wing moult

The other very exciting news I have to share is that my reeling neighbour - the Grasshopper Warbler I first discovered from my back garden five days ago - is amazingly still here!  Bizarre really as where he is looks nothing like traditional breeding Gropper habitat at all, I wouldn't even think to look for a migrant one there! It's basically just a hedge in between two intensively managed ecologically barren crop fields.  Still, there must be something he likes, and although throughout the day he doesn't make a sound, from about 19:45 he's been reeling almost non-stop til around 21:15. Such a treat - I can actually hear him whilst lying in bed!

A couple of evenings ago I went back out into the field hoping to see him.  No luck there, but his vocal performance was off the scale...

Stay safe everyone.


  1. Love the Grasshopper Warbler, great to hear that again - I haven't heard one for 5 or 6 years, but that's not a getting old thing!

    1. Haha, hi Dave hope you're well. Yeah it's a real cracker - only heard them going at it like this on Dartmoor, where there's a really healthy breeding population. So thrilled to have one by the house! Take care buddy