Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Catch Up

I've been extremely lax in updating this blog.  I hadn't realised it had been quite so long since the last post (April 18th!!).  There is too much to report on in any detail, so I'm just going to give some chronological highlights and photos, with the species list on the right showing first arrival dates for commoner birds.

April 22nd - the first Green Sand of the year, quite unusual here in Spring.

April 25th - the first Hobby and Yellow Wagtail

April 27th - four Arctic Terns were the start of a little run for this species

April 29th - a Curlew flew through east at 8:30am and more Arctic Terns began to arrive from 9am, building to a peak of seven by mid morning.

April 2nd - an unseasonal 2cy Caspian Gull and adult Yellow-legged Gull appeared on the spit.

May 12th - a red letter day, with the discovery of a summer plumaged Knot, only my second ever record, and a brief adult summer Kittiwake. The Knot remained to the 13th.

May 15th - First Greenshank of the year.

May 23rd - First Ringed Plover of the year.

May 24th - three Black Terns found early morning on the east side of the lake.

May 25th - a pre-work visit found a flock of seven Greenshank on the spit briefly before flying off north, possibly the largest flock ever seen here (I've seen six before). Also a Ringed Plover.

May 27th - a Redshank was on the spit.

Another relatively poor year for wader passage. A few nice ones seen, but a lack of numbers in commoner wader species such as Dunlin and Ringed Plover. Also the second year running with no Spring Whimbrel, a species that used to be very regular.

June 5th - A female Yellow Wagtail on the spit was interesting, local breeder or late migrant?

June 11th - a male Mandarin around the main island was the first of the year.

June 18th - another interesting seasonal record was a singing Lesser Whitethroat that stayed for a couple of days. This was the first record of the year around the lake - late migrant or failed breeder?

June 27th - the first of the returning waders was a Green Sand on the spit. Also the interesting discovery that despite thinking Little Egrets had failed to nest on site after four years of successful breeding, a nest with two fairly old chicks was seen.  Amazing how this had escaped discovery beforehand.  By early July, the fledged juveniles were coming to the spit.

June 28th - a colour-ringed Greenshank was found on the spit.  It had been ringed the previous September on Thorney Island, Chichester Harbour.

June 29th - Simon R found  pair of Avocets during his lunch hour. The second record and 4th and 5th birds of the year. A Green Sand was also present.

July 3rd - Loafing gull numbers are beginning to build post breeding. The first Yellow-legged Gulls of the season were an adult and a 3cy bird.

July 4th - a moulting female type Mandarin was found on the east side of the lake. It was still there on the 5th and looks to be flightless, so will presumably hang around for a while like last year's bird.

July 7th - My tenth Greenshank of the year was another returning adult, distant on the north-east side of the spit.  A Common Sand was also my first returning bird.

July 9th - It was excellent to discover that Little Ringed Plovers had bred on site this year.  Four fluffy chicks seen initially quickly dropped to two and these two could be seen around the spit with the adult pair.  Four Oystercatchers seemed to be a family group as well, with two full grown juveniles accompanying two adults - we can only speculate where these may have bred, but it wasn't here. A Redshank and Common Sand were other returning waders.

Adult on left, juvenile on right.

July 10th - Another Yellow-legged Gull, this time a 2cy bird.

So that's a whistle stop tour of the last few months that gives a flavour of the highlights.  In terms of my patch year list, well it reached the heady heights of 129 on May 24th with the addition of Black Tern.  I hadn't reached this number until September in four of the last five years and even the recording breaking year of 2017 wasn't on this number until July 22nd.  Inevitably, finding new additions has slowed incredibly and I was only able to add one species, Mandarin, in June and have yet to add anything in July, so the list is being reined back in.  I do hope to get some waders over the coming weeks though, especially birds like Black-tailed Godwit and maybe Whimbrel or Wood Sand.

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