The best bird from my Saturday visit was undoubtedly a Ruff. A tricky bird on patch, though just about annual and this one along with my past two records was a fly through. I picked it up whilst walking down the west side of the lake and doing periodic scans. It flew in from the north, did a couple of circuits of the lake and then descended as if to land on the spit, though I lost it behind vegetation at this point. Further searches failed to find it on deck, so I presume that it just flew on through.
Not much else of interest, though ducks are arriving and moving through in dribs and drabs - 8 Teal and 2 male Pochard around this morning. A single adult Common Tern was probably one of the four adults I had seen the previous evening on a quick stop off after work - all probably migrant birds rather than left over breeders.
On the Sunday morning, two new arrivals were a couple of Green Sandpipers that were quite vocal and being chased quite a bit by the Lapwings. These didn't last too long and had gone by the afternoon. A fly over Yellow Wagtail, calling as it went and a single Swift were also interesting.
2 Shoveler and 3 Gadwall were the new ducks of the morning, whilst at about 8am, what seems to be a regular event was the arrival of large numbers of geese. They fly in from the north and make a real racket - I counted 252 Greylags and 46 Canadas and amongst these was the regular Bar-headed Goose. This bird spends the summer along the Jubilee River a few miles away and returned here about a week ago - he or she must be getting on a bit now. The adult Common Tern was still flying around, but flew off west later on.
My parents were coming over for lunch later, so I headed home and shortly afterwards, the rain started falling. Around tea time, I noticed a report of 3 Spoonbills on patch - what! I looked at my phone and saw a text I hadn't seen from Jim R - he had found the birds after the rain had subsided. My parents were still visiting and I began to get quite twitchy, especially as I had missed the Spring bird by about 20 minutes - how long would these bird stay? I needn't have worried, because after my parents had left and I raced down to the lake at about 5:30pm, I found all three birds still present with their heads and bills tucked in their backs, obviously not going anywhere.
The birds were an adult and two juveniles and I thought very possibly a family group and interestingly, the adult was colour ringed. A check of the ringing schemes later on found that this was a Dutch ringed bird - a source of many of the UK birds - it had dark green over a yellow flag over dark green on the left leg and dark blue over metal over pale lime green on the right leg. Jim R is following this record up with the scheme, but the administrator is away for a fortnight. It is amazing to think that Spoonbill was a new bird to the site in May 2014 and we had three records that year - possibly the same bird, followed by another adult this May and now three more birds - I guess a sign of the times.
My record shots are just that, but pleased to get this one back this year.
|CR adult in centre|
|One juvenile showing its bill|
|The other juvenile wakes up momentarily|
After more rain over night, I half expected the birds to still be there the next morning, but it was a bit surprising to hear that the adult had stayed and the juveniles had departed.