Tuesday, 25 August 2015

A trio of Spooners

With the school holidays upon us, my patch birding has been rather restricted of late, so I took the opportunity this weekend to make a couple of early(ish) visits while everyone was still in bed.

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.

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