Monday 27 May 2024

Avocets and Shelducks

Scotney - cool, cloudy, SW 4 - Being as it was Bank Holiday Monday the gravel pits and farmland were deserted and as a result we didn`t see another soul all morning. The habitat in the working sand pit at the Camber end was superb for waders, as they often are in the early stages of excavation, where the highlight was a mixed flock of 30 Dunlins and 10 Tundra Ringed Plovers, plus at least 20 Avocets, 10 Oystercatchers, four each of  Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers and singles of Greenshank, Redshank and Lapwing. Wildfowl included 80 Shelducks, 20 Mallards, two Gadwalls and a Shoveler, while around the margins a few Yellow Wagtails, Sedge and Reed Warblers, Reed Buntings, Linnets and a Cetti`s Warbler were present. Also of note, 30 Sand Martins and a first summer Little Gull. The front pits were pretty quiet apart from a large flock of several hundred feral geese, mostly Canada Geese. More Avocets, Black-headed Gulls, Shelducks and 10 Pochards were noted on the large pit out back along with a Marsh Harrier and a few Mediterranean Gulls over calling. It wasn`t that many years ago when the farmland trio of Yellow Wagtail, Corn Bunting and Tree Sparrow could easily be encountered in and around the main farm complex, but not so now such has been their rapid decline in numbers. However, a few Yellow Wagtails were noted along the dung heaps bordering the concrete road beside a pea field, along with one or two Linnets, Skylarks and just two Corn Buntings. We continued to trek out to the abandoned farmhouse and spinney to check on the Tree Sparrow boxes recently erected by Owen and co. While it was good to see activity in at least three boxes with about ten sparrows present I got the feeling that this formerly abundant bird is living on borrowed time down here on the Marsh. 


                                  Corn Bunting

                                  Tree Sparrow boxes


                                 Yellow Wagtail

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