Friday, 27 May 2016

Spring fizzles out

It's been a while since my last post.  I've started posting quick news and updates on twitter, as it's a bit easier and quicker to get news out:

Anyway, as Spring seems to have fizzled out on patch, here are the highlights of the previous fortnight:

May 12th: Black and Arctic Terns continued to pass through in small numbers.  I was at work, but visited in the morning, when there none of either species.  They arrived during the morning, but only the 2 Black Terns and a single Arctic (3 reported earlier) were present in the evening when I popped in after work.  As I watched with Alan S, Greenshank called and two birds flew over and landed on the spit, joining the single bird already  present. A single Ringed Plover was also still present.

May 13th: Once again, a pre work visit found no terns other than Common, though the Greenshank and Ringed Plover remained.  Alan S arriving later in the day had another summer plumaged Little Gull arrive and up to 9 Arctic Terns.  Best of all though was a singing Cetti's Warbler on the south bank - a rare bird here.  I arrived in the evening after work and had lovely views of the Little Gull, though there were no Arctics left by this stage.  The Cettis was still singing on and off though, only my second here following a bird that was around for about 3 weeks last August/September.  I have a feeling that once this site is found by Cetti's, it will become more regular.

A nice flight shot of the Little Gull here:

Picture 1

May 14th: Surprisingly, the Little Gull remained for a second day, though I was unable to go and see it again. This was the final day of the Greenshank's visit.

This was the end of the period of easterlies and migration pretty much dried up after this.  Other highlights since then have been an unseasonal male Wigeon on the 19th and 20th.  The 21st was a bit damp and an early Ringed Plover found by Jackie N was joined by two more as I watched in the early evening.  There were also large numbers of Swifts zooming about in a transient flock - I estimated at least 400 birds, which brought with them a passing Hobby.  A 2cy Great Black-backed Gull was also a late bird and probably a lingering individual seen earlier in the month. Phone-scoped record shots below:

The Cetti's Warbler has remained throughout, often very vocal and audible from some distance away.  I captured a short video of it singing from an unseen perch here:

Up to two pairs of Shelduck are still frequent visitors, though more often than not just a single pair.  I think any breeding attempt would probably be doomed to predation on this site.

Some of our commoner breeding warblers are now in in good numbers, a walk around the site on the 23rd and 24th found 6 Garden Warblers (5 singing males) and 8 Reed Warblers, all singing males, plus two male Whitethroats, which are a scarcer bird on patch.  There are also plenty of babies appearing.  All the geese have reared some young: Egyptian, Canada, Greylag and feral; Grey Herons and Cormorants all have young; the first Mallard ducklings are about along with Moorhen and Coot and the tern rafts look to be holding well into double figures of Common Terns.

There were 9 baby Coots here, but reduced to just 3 a few days later.
Finally, I captured one of the reasons why we see Oystercatchers so frequently here, not for breeding, but to feed on the plentiful supply of fresh water mussels.

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