Thursday 20 June 2019

Warblers, stilts and a `new` site

Pas-de-Calais - mild, cloudy/sunny, nw 3/4 - A day out in France with Chris, Martin and Tony saw us on an early shuttle from Folkestone with Guines Marshes our first port of call. Despite being a little late in the breeding season we eventually managed a singing Icterine Warbler near the site entrance and at least two Marsh Warblers in song further around the boardwalk with more probables seen alongside Reed and Sedge Warblers all of which had young to feed so were fairly quiet, while Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Whitethroat and Cetti`s Warbler were still in fine voice. Also noted around the circuit: several Turtle Doves, Marsh Harriers and Buzzards, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Cuckoo, Jay, Garden Warbler, Long-tailed Tit and Kingfisher, but best of all a Short-toed Treecreeper that posed nicely on a lichen clad willow trunk as it enjoyed the morning sunshine, all puffed out to get the maximum rays; it showed typically dusky flanks with pale wing tips and even gradations along the wing-bar edge.
  With the sun out plenty of Red Admirals were on the bramble flowers along with a few Painted Ladies, Speckled Woods and Meadow Browns. We then moved up to the forest to scan for raptors where a few Buzzards and Marsh Harriers were noted.

                                Short-toed Treecreeper

                                Close up of the wing-bar and wing tips

  A short drive to the coast brought us to Oye-Plage and the hide overlooking the wet meadows and lagoon. The Black-headed Gull colony was in full swing and busy with juveniles, some already on the wing, where also nesting Avocet and Lapwing. A loose flock of 32 Spoonbills harboured a few Little and a Cattle Egret, plus Common Terns, Gadwall, Wigeon and Shelduck, two Turtle Doves, House Martins and Swallows. At the eastern end of the reserve at least 500 Sandwich Terns were split into two colonies, both with plenty of well-grown chicks. Also, another Spoonbill, several Mediterranean Gulls, Shelducks with a creche of ducklings, Shoveler, Egyptian Goose, Stonechat and Meadow Pipit.

                                White Wagtail

                                Fort Philippe

  We then moved further along the coast to Fort Phillipe where a Common Rosefinch had been reported recently. As it was mid-afternoon we drew a blank on the finch, but `discovered` a wetland area nearby, complete with screen blinds overlooking a reed-fringed lake and an extensive series of shallow lagoons, islands and broad grassy borders full of wild flowers - and plenty of birds! The highlights were two pairs of Black-necked Grebes and six Black-winged Stilts with young, plus Great Crested Grebe, four Avocets, Lapwings, Grey Heron, Great White Egret, six Little Egrets, Buzzard, Willow Warbler, Sand and House Martins and hundreds of dabbling ducks, Jackdaws and gulls. How we`d missed this site in the past is a mystery, but we`ll certainly be back during migration as the habitat is suitable for luring down passage waders.
  Another superb day out in northern France in fine company with plenty of laughs along the way and many thanks to Chris for driving.

                                Black-winged Stilts

No comments:

Post a Comment