Saturday 5 March 2011

Osprey and Peregrines

Lade - 0730hrs - cold, cloudy, ne2 - As I walking back across the storm beaches towards Plovers all the Herring Gulls were creating merry hell along the coast road. I scanned, expecting a Grey Heron to be the target of their ire, but was totally gobsmacked to see an Osprey heading north about 100 feet above the bungalows. Needless to say this is the earliest record I`ve ever had of this summer migrant.
ARC - 0930hrs - Marshman called round and dragged me out birding. First stop the causeway to check the southern end of the pit where a `redhead` Smew, two Shelducks, a singing Reed Bunting, Chiffchaff  and a stunning adult male Marsh Harrier noted. Over the road on New Diggings a drake Smew with 6 ` redheads` plus a lone Little Egret.
Dengemarsh - 1000hrs - The flood had the same waders and wildfowl as yesterday plus a Snipe. Bearded Tits `pinged` from the reedbed while the lake held plenty of trilling Dabchicks, head-shaking Great Crested Grebes and at least one small, wipe-me-out-if-you-can-stiff tail, amongst the regular wildfowl.
Galloways - 1130hrs - Ten Corn Buntings and still no Stonechats.
Scotney - 1145hrs - Lots of handsome, "declining in numbers", Herring Gulls about to breed on the islands.
Pigwell Pit - 1215hrs - Seven Avocets up to their bellies on the washout pit, plus a flock of 25 Chaffinches and a Mipit.
Walland Marsh - 1230hrs - The pic below sets the scene for a grisly encounter with a pair of Peregrines. It appeared that the male had nailed a Woodpigeon which had then retreated into the bush to the left, minus many feathers and most of one wing. Sensibly, it decided to remain out of sight as the hooked beaks were waiting. A half hour stand off ensued whereby the male flew around showing off to the female. This soon attracted the attention of a pair of crows and a Buzzard, which all got the `push off` treatment from the falcon. Half a dozen or so Marsh Harriers also noted, plus several hundred White-fronts, Goldies, Lapwings, Wigeon, Teal and the like. A flock of 10 Song Thrushes flushed by Barney from a hedgerow.
Elsewhere, 10 Bewick Swans and a Snipe at Midley.
Burrowes -1400hrs - Ended up in the warmth of the visitor centre where the pit was full of Shoveler, Gadwall, Wigeon, Shelduck plus a scattering of Goldeneye and a Smew. Out in the car park there was, `funny goings on`, between a lens man and a scantily dressed 2nd winter female...
                                          Peregrines waiting for lunch (no, not the sheep!)

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