Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Pluses and Minuses

Going away for 2 weeks in the back half of August is a good way to miss good patch birds, as this is peak migration for many species.  So it was for me, as a flock of no less than 13 Sandwich Terns spent the whole day on site on August 16th - I had to make do with looking at the pictures.  Still, that's patch birding.  I also missed a local adult Gannet on August 15th, which would just about have been gettable before it flew off.

On my return, my first visit to the patch was on the afternoon of August 28th.  There didn't appear to be much about.  All the breeding Common Terns had departed, though a lone moulting adult was probably a passage bird.  There was a reasonable loafing flock of gulls to work through and I pulled out an adult and a moulting juvenile Yellow-legged Gull

Then, just before 4pm, a Black Tern flew through my bins.  I looked up and could see several small terns slowly circling and descending to the lake.  There were four in all and all were juvenile Black Terns - always nice to see.  They never looked to be lingering and I watched them circle up high several times before they descended again.  On one occasion, three of the birds flew out of the SE corner and looked to be heading south over Cock Marsh, but about 10 minutes later they had returned.  The flock often split into a three and a single bird, with the three close to the spit and the single hawking the east side of the lake.  I left then to it and they were still present into the evening.

It was no surprise to me that on an early visit the following morning, a single juvenile Black Tern was still present and I assumed that this was the lone bird from the previous day.  It was still there the next day too.  This bird spent some time much closer to the west bank, often perched on a stick poking out of the water, so I was to grab some record shots.

On August 30th, whilst visiting my parents, I received a text from Fraser, my old birding buddy who still birds my old patch at Dinton Pastures.  There was an outstanding record of a roosting Nightjar visible from the riverside path at Lavell's Lake.  This was too good an opportunity to miss and I was only a few minutes away, so hot footed it down there.  What an amazing record, now that's one I'd like to get on my new patch!

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