Thursday, 7 April 2011
Foret-de-Guines - 0900hrs - warm, dry and sunny - Hopped across the Channel with 2 of the London Ladies (Marshman riding shotgun) for a days birding in the Pas-de-Calais. Started off in the forest at Guines where a Hawfinch was almost the first bird of the day. Cracking chorus of bird song here with Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Song Thrushes in fine voice. Also noted Nuthatch, Bullfinch, Yellowhammer, Short-toed Treecreeper, Goldcrest, Marsh Tit, Jay, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and a hooting Tawny Owl.
Marais-de-Guines - 1030hrs - Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs, Cetti`s, Sedge and Willow Warblers all in song and mostly seen. Marshman picked up a Serin atop a pine tree and I had a singing Firecrest. No sign of any Bluethroats though, where I have seen them in the past. A Grey Heron perched on a wire made for a strange sight. Marsh Harrier, Kestrel and Little Egret also noted, plus a musk rat.
Calais Hoverport - 1300hrs No sign of Crested Lark here for the second time in a row. A nice flock of 7 Wheatears, 1 Black Redstart, 20 Linnets, 5 Mipits and a White Wagtail.
Oye-Plage - 1400hrs As always a top site packed with birds. We checked the beach first and had a pair of Kentish Plovers, 4 Ringed Plovers and 20 each of Skylark and Mipit. Offshore a Common Scoter, 2 Avocets and loads of Sandwich Terns coming and going. Onto the main hide by the toilet block, overlooking the flood, and stacks of ducks and waders including, 60 Avocets, 20 Lapwings, 4 LRPs, 2 Snipe, 2 Ruff, 2 Redshanks, 2 Oystercatchers and 1 Curlew. Duckwise: Mallard, Pintail, Teal, Shoveler, Shelduck, Tufted Duck and Wigeon. Further down the lane from the roadside hide loads more wildfowl and waders including 3 Spoonbills, 2 Garganey, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Stonechat, several Med Gulls and Sandwich Terns. Rounded off the day in fine style with a calling Cuckoo and a total of 93 species, highlights being: Hawfinch, Short-toed Treecreeper, Serin, Kentish Plover and Spoonbill.