10 April 2009

One more try...

Having to work with computers all day means that sometimes I really can’t face spending time after work trying to put together a blog post that actually makes sense and is almost worth reading. I’ve had that problem this week! Last weekend's birding was both enjoyable and rewarding but my brain just couldn’t get into gear when it came to blogging - I tried at least three times to do an update and gave up each time.

On Sunday I visited two different sites during the morning and was pleased to see Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover and Redshank back on breeding territories at both. Chiffchaff were much in evidence and Willow Warbler were seen, and heard, at both sites - species number 108 for the “10-Mile List”. Two pairs of Yellowhammer, one at each location, brightened up the day with both their song and stunning yellow plumage. Skylark also filled the air with song and showed well in the clear blue skies. Spring was definitely in the air.

With a wider mix of habitat at my second location of the morning I managed to see a larger number of species - 51 in total - but failed to add any new “year birds”. As the weeks roll by duck numbers continue to decrease locally but the pools here still held a number of species with 6 Shelduck, 3 Wigeon, 2 Gadwall, 12 Teal, 2 Shoveler, 12 Tufted Duck and 2 Goldeneye present. There were also a number of Mallard but I never take time out to actually count them! Other birds of note included 4 Buzzard, 2 Red-legged Partridge, Common Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker, 4 Sand Martin and 4 Linnet. The waders mentioned earlier added to the site total and made for a good mornings birding. At just after 12:00PM I headed for home and my Sunday roast.

Late on Sunday afternoon I headed back out again, to Foremark Reservoir, and was able to add species 109 to the “10-Mile List” in the form of a female Red-breasted Merganser. The bird had been at Foremark since March 31st but work had prevented me from going for it until Sunday. Luckily, the Merganser hung around and I managed to see what is a rather scarce bird this far south in the county. On the downside, Foremark was heaving with people out enjoying the sunny weather so I quickly moved on to Willington Gravel Pits for a couple of hours.

Willington proved to be a lot quieter both in terms of people and birds seen - just 35 species. Two Wigeon remained on Gull Pit along with 6 Gadwall, 6 Teal, 8 Shoveler, a Pochard and 27 Tufted Duck. A Buzzard was perched on a fence post at the back of the reserve. Waders included Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Curlew and Redshank. A group of around 40 Sand Martins flew low over the water a couple of times before heading off into the distance again. Great Spotted Woodpecker, Mistle Thrush, Chiffchaff, Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting were all seen in the lane. As the sun set it was time to head home once again, with yet another week at work to look forward to - great!

On Tuesday evening I made another flying visit to Willington after work, this time it wasn’t to the main reserve but to the Canal Scrape area. This wasn’t to be a relaxing evening watching birds but a battle to add yet another tick to my “10-Mile List”. The wind was howling, the rain clouds were heavy and very low, the light was terrible. To make matters worse the water was as choppy as the North Sea in November! Somewhere out there a Black-necked Grebe was waiting to be found. I knew that from all of the text messages that I’d been sent by other birders during the day!

Whilst searching for the grebe I picked out a group of 6 Yellow Wagtails (species 110 for the list) feeding around the edge of the water and a short while later located the bird I’d come in search of. Black-necked Grebe, another reasonably scarce bird for Southern Derbyshire, becomes species 111 on this years “10-Mile List”.

*certain location details left out due to breeding birds.

No comments:

Post a Comment