06 July 2008

Yet more rain...

It was time to get out birding again this morning, even if the weather wasn’t at it’s best. It was raining and the wind was blowing. The first bird I saw was a female Blackbird; she wasn’t at all bothered about the weather and came running along the garden fence towards me as soon as I opened the back door. It was our new “user friendly” Blackbird and she wanted her breakfast! The Blackbird isn’t quite ready to take food from our hand yet but she will gladly come to within a couple of feet of us now.

"Mrs Blackbird"

As I drove towards Willington Gravel Pits the rain started to come down even heavier and I was starting to question my decision to even get out of bed let alone attempt any birding. By the time I parked the car the rain had, luckily, eased to a fine drizzle - maybe the morning wouldn’t be too bad after all.

The walk down the lane was rather quiet compared to many of my spring visits, with Swift, Swallow, House Martin and Grey Wagtail being the only birds of note. Maybe it was the weather, maybe the time of year, but there was no sign of many of the birds that had been regular sightings earlier in the year - no Bullfinch, no Greenfinch, no Willow Warbler, no Blackcap.

At the bottom of the lane, and from up on platform 3, things started to pick up. The rain had stopped, two Wood Sandpipers were showing well, if a little distant, and a single Caspian Gull was out on the spit in the middle of Gull Pit. I may have got a little wet walking down the lane but it was more than worth it. I had two more species for my “10-Mile List” and it was only 8:15AM.

Birds seen out on the water included Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Tufted Duck and a count of 42 Lesser Black-backed Gull. Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Common Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Reed Warbler and Reed Bunting were all seen around Gull Pit.

After getting another soaking from a heavy downpour I was starting to think about heading for home when the clouds started to clear and four waders flew low across Gull Pit. Just as I lifted my binoculars the birds started to call. No need for a visual I.D, the call gave it away. They were Greenshank - another year tick for the “10-Mile List”.

I stood my ground for another hour and a half, getting rained on a couple more times, before I decided to call it quits. The only other birds that I’d recorded were a singing Chiffchaff, a Kingfisher that perched in the reeds not far from the platform and also a stunning group of 18 Black-tailed Godwits that dropped in for around 10 minutes before continuing on their way.

Despite the soakings I received it turned out to be a good few hours of birding, I recorded 44 bird species in total and added three new ticks to the “10-Mile List”.

My “10-Mile List” now stands at 130 species.

1 comment:

  1. Our birds won't eat fruit. I stretched out by the garden today on the hammock and watched the deer graze in the field and a hawk soar high above me. I also had a short conversation with our cardinal this morning. Not sure what he said but I'm certain the feeling was mutual.