24 March 2008

Six more...

The singing Blackbirds woke me at 4:25AM today! I was not happy! I was even less happy when I couldn’t get back to sleep properly. At 5:45AM I gave in and got up, had breakfast and headed out birding.

First stop was another, unsuccessful, visit to Aston in search of the Smew. I am now of the feeling that they may well have left so I’ll not be going after them again, unless I get news of a confirmed sighting. It wasn’t a total waste of time though as I did manage to pick up a single Green Sandpiper, my first of the year. By the end of my 90-minute visit I had seen 42 species, three more than yesterday.

From Aston I took a very steady drive along the back roads to Willington Gravel Pits. This route gave me my second year tick of the day, Fieldfare. A mixed flock of Redwing and Fieldfare were feeding in a roadside field just outside Weston-on-Trent.

Once at Willington the birding started to hot up a little, even though the temperature had started to fall somewhat! The wind-chill must have taken the temperature well below freezing. I spent four hours around the gravel pits and was rewarded with a total of 61 species, possibly my highest ever count at this reserve.

New birds for the year were Little Ringed Plover, Curlew, Great Black-backed Gull and Chiffchaff. Having found my first Green Sandpiper of the year only an hour or so earlier, I located two more at Willington! Just like buses, you wait ages for one then three come along!

Other notable sightings at Willington included 17 Shelduck, 3 Goosander, 4 Buzzard, 4 Dunlin, a single Kingfisher, both Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker, 30 Sand Martin and a single Willow Tit.

So, after a better day than I had expected, my “10-Mile List” has now reached 81 species. I think it will be another week or two before the next batch of summer migrants start to arrive so it’s going to be difficult to increase my total for a while, but I may well try tomorrow!

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