Wednesday, 7 May 2014

The Grand Tour

Lade - 0600 - 1030hrs - cool, sunshine/showers, sw 4 - Decided on a `Grand Tour` of the local patch this morning to check on breeding birds, so we headed for the gravel pits first, then across the Desert to Mockmill, around south lake to the willow swamp and the top end of north lake, then off-piste along the old railway line route to Lade North. This brought us out at the Dunes Road wood from where we returned home along the beach.

                               "This beats seawatching any day"

                                Lade `Mirrors`, amid classic Cuckoo habitat

We found evidence of 62 species of breeding birds, the highlights of which were: Dabchick, Shelduck, Pochard, Grey Partridge, Water Rail, Buzzard, Oystercatcher, LRP, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Cuckoo, Green Woodpecker, Yellow Wagtail, Mistle Thrush, Cetti`s Warbler, Tree Sparrow and Corn Bunting.
The farmland at Lade North was most productive with five singing Corn Buntings, six pairs of Tree Sparrows, a pair of Yellow Wagtails in a spud field and, surprise, surprise a calling Grey Partridge in a field of wheat which showed briefly along a tram line, and was new for that Marsh year list, if only I was keeping one ...

                                Pochard - small numbers nest amongst the reedbeds
                                Solar-panel Gull - on eggs, arrr, don`t you just love `em...

                                Note the deterrent spikes!

                      Willow swamp Blackbird  - this individual has an astonishing vocal range

A solitary pair of Ringed Plovers had somehow survived on the shingle beach and pair of Buzzards were circling and mewing away over towards Belgar.
Other bits and bobs noted along the way included a Marsh Harrier hunting over the main reedbed, a light passage of Swifts and hirundines, Whinchat and Wheatear at Lade North and amongst the shorebirds on the beach six Knot and 15 Barwits in summer plum and best of all four Turnstones also in summer plum (is there a smarter wader? I don`t think so...) five Whimbrel over and ten Sandwich Terns, making a grand total of 86 species seen/heard in four and half hours, which was not a bad return considering the buffeting wind.

                                `Fat bird of the barley` - Lade North

Scotney - 1400hrs - The wind picked up to near gale force this afternoon making viewing difficult. Several Little Gulls struggling over the main lake were about the only migrants of note, apart from two Barwits that briefly landed on the grass before being blown away north.

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