Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Arctics arrive bang on cue

April 21st - with high pressure, light easterly winds and a warm sunny day, it was no surprise that there were Arctic Terns on the move today.  There were also plenty of Little Gulls and a few Black Terns in the region, but they chose not to visit my patch.

I found the first two Arctic Terns shortly after 9am.  As usual they favoured the larger open water on the east side of the lake.  There were also 14 Common Terns on site, but these were mostly on the spit, with just two flying with the Arctics initially.  At just after 9:30am, all 14 Common Terns were on the spit, a further two Arctic Terns joined the first two and all four birds flew west, the Commons all took off en masse and the four Arctics spiralled up and off west.  About twenty minutes later, I noticed another Arctic Tern flying around with the Commons and then another, so back to two birds.  These were watched for a while and then were also seen to spiral up high and off west.  With a bit of deja vu, shortly later we were back to one, two then three Arctics flying around, though by late morning there were just two birds, both of which stayed until the evening.  It is difficult to say how many birds were actually involved, as the birds that were seen to spiral off may have returned, but a minimum of 4 birds and probably 7 or 9.  Common Terns had also risen to 22 birds mid afternoon, so some fresh arrivals of these too.

A few record shots of the two birds that remained in the afternoon and eventually landed on the spit:

Only one of the two birds together
A couple of the Common Terns

A Black-tailed Godwit had also arrived just after 9am and was seemingly happy feeding on the spit, but when the Common Terns all spooked just after 9:30am, it flew off.  I failed o get a record shot, as I was viewing distantly from the southern bank at this stage.

A Sedge Warbler was new in in the NE corner was the first one on patch this year - there are only ever a few migrants each year, whilst a new Reed Warbler was singing in the SE corner.

A Green Sandpiper was also another year tick.  A bird present in the works bay area was presumably the same one seen in the same place last Friday and Saturday.  A Common Sand and pair of LRP made up the rest of the waders.

Another interesting bird was a mixed singing Willow Warbler in the NE corner.  It began with several Chiffchaff type notes and ended in the usual Willow Warbler descending flourish.  I took a recording on my phone so will try and upload it later.

Other year ticks over the past week have included two Swifts on the 19th - seven were reported on the 18th and I had five more on the 20th, so quite early this year.  My first Reed Warbler was singing on the 19th in a reed bed on the south bank and this morning (22nd) I had my first Nuthatch singing near the NE corner.

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