Wednesday, 20 April 2016

A flock of Greenshank

20th April - there was a chill easterly wind blowing in my face as I arrived this morning.  This wind direction can turn up some good birds, especially if there is rain as well.  However, it was bright and sunny today.  A quick scan of the spit against the sun and I could see some mid sized waders feeding on the back of the spit - Greenshank.  A nice group of three birds feeding away are always good to get in the Spring.  I took some distant record shots with my phone into the sun at almost 200 yds.

I panned further to the left and could see more Greenshank feeding and some partially hidden.  There were in fact six birds, so a very decent sized flock of Spring birds.  They were quite actively feeding on the back of the spit, but eventually started to roost and so I was able to grab an even more distant record shot at least 250 yds away of all six birds.

A Common Sandpiper with the Greenshank briefly was my first of the year, though it had been on site for a few days.  Two Swifts also flew over and lingered over the lake and STW for a while amongst small numbers of all three hirundines.  Otherwise, the pair of Oystercatchers, two Little Egrets and 17 Common Terns were the best birds.
I have been notching up year ticks over the past few days, but have inevitably also missed some, most notably a couple of Arctic Terns on the 16th.  I managed a Lesser Whitethroat on the 19th along the south bank with what was probably the same bird a bit later on the east bank in close proximity to my first Reed Warbler.  Another Sedge Warbler turned up on the 18th and was still present on the 19th near the western bench, whilst at Pump Lane, two striking male Wheatears were in the paddocks, birds 4 and 5 of the year so far.
Last week, I popped in after work to year tick a Dunlin on the 14th and whilst there had a Green Sandpiper fly over at about 7:30pm though it continued to fly off westwards.  The following morning, before work, there were three Dunlin coming nicely into summer plumage, though I failed to get a picture of any of these birds.
Common Tern numbers have really built quickly.  Following the first birds last week, there were 8 on the morning of the 15th, but numbers built during the day and a peak count of 23 birds was seen during the afternoon.  Numbers have fallen back slightly since, but are often in the high teens, 17 this morning, so hopefully when the tern raft is repositioned at the end of this week, we will have another bumper breeding season.  Little Ringed Plovers are also much in evidence, with generally two, but up to four birds seen over the past week.
I saw my first Orange-tip of the year yesterday, and grabbed a quick record as it stopped flying momentarily.

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