Sunday 26 April 2015

Nightingale and Swallows

Lade - 0600hrs - mild, overcast, drizzle, light airs - At last, two moths in the garden trap this morning, Hebrew Character and Shuttle-shaped Dart. A mild start to the day but as the cold front moved over by midday the temperature plummeted and the rain increased.
We walked Mockmill which was jumping with Sedge Warblers and, at last, Whitethroats with more of both around the lakes and across the shingle scrub respectively. More Reed Warblers and Linnets had come in overnight along with several Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Cuckoos. Bird of the morning though was a Nightingale, new for the Marsh year list (174th species) singing from cover behind the wall `mirror`, closely followed by a Common Sandpiper over north lake. Several pulses of hirundines went through along with small groups of Swifts.

                                Whitethroat, Lade

RSPB - Spent an hour or so nattering to Mick Price and birders from the South Beds RSPB group who were down for the day. Around the car park more hirundines and Swifts came and went with the rain bands and there was plenty of Tree Sparrow activity. Very little new reported today around the reserve with old favourites such as the Bean Geese and Cattle Egrets at Dengemarsh and Brickwall Farm still in situ.

                               Swallows, Lade

Lade - What is there not to admire about Swallows and their tribe. The cold northerly wind had driving hundreds of `em down to feed low over south lake, along with good numbers of House Martins and a few Sand Martins. Many had flopped down on the shingle bank on the lake side, sheltering from the wind, obviously exhausted, whilst others perched on wire fencing twittering away to one another. What a terrific sight and sound, and I couldn't help but muse over the journey they`d made over the past month or so traversing the great continent of Africa, across rain forests, deserts, savannah, mountains and seas, and then to pause a while on `my` local gravel pit. I spent a very happy hour in their company, a great privilege, sifting through the flock as more and more joined the throng from the south, the wonders of migration and all that, it never ceases to thrill.
Whilst there singles of Grey Plover, Greenshank and Whimbrel went over calling into the brisk wind and as we trudged back across the shingle a Sparrowhawk reduced the local Starling population by one.

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