Saturday 7 August 2021

Baston Gravl Pit to Willow Tree Fen

 Friday 6 August

Showers forecasted but the latest had stopped as I arrived in Langtoft to drop Jenny off at her friend's house then straight on to Baston gravel pits on Baston Outgang Road with both Blackbird and Wood Pigeon as I approached.  From here to the Lincolnshire Willow Tree Fen reserve the weather stayed fine, very part-sunny at times, until I eventually returned to Stamford.  On the other hand, mostly cloudy and quite windy.

Once parked up with the main waters either side of the road it was soon apparent that the main species were Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Coot and a good number of Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  Checking the eastern side first many Mallard and Tufted Duck along with a couple of Common Tern whilst above me numerous feeding Sand Martins.  The western pool also held Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen and a handful of Herring Gull.  Moving alongside the eastern water on Outgang Road itself I had a closer view of the resting Mute Swans which also revealed both Cormorant and many Lapwing.  Needless to say there was no shortage of Wood Pigeon both in this area and the drive onwards to Willow Tree Fen.

Mute Swans Cygnus olor with Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo, Lapwing Vanellus vanellus and Greylag Geese Anser anser

Approaching the Counter Drain Road on Black Drove one of the shallow pools held a Little Egret and once round the bend to follow the Counter Drain I soon recorded Collared Dove, Barn Swallow and House Martin as I passed through the hamlet of Tongue End.  Back in the countryside and a Goldfinch crossed the road in front of me and a score or more of Starlings on the nearby wires.

Arriving at the (closed) Willow Tree Fen reserve a handful of Magpie and a couple of Collared Dove as I then scoped the area which held the breeding Cranes last year.  (Not sure whether or not they returned this year but plenty of information re the bird on the locked gate.)  A Marsh Harrier was quartering the rear of the site and a couple of Kestrel hunting in the middle.  Off to the far right both a few Carrion Crow and a small flock of Rook,  However, on the recently rolled bales of straw at least eight Stock Dove.

So back to Baston and on to Stamford finding a score or more Jackdaw as I passed the farm at Barholm and then, not 500 metres before Uffington, a Great Spotted Woodpecker at the side of the road, presumably picking up grit.  Not to be outdone, within less than a minute a Red Kite drifting along on the right-hand side of the country lane.  All in all, not  bad result for an hour's birding with thirty species when the forecast suggested we would be in the middle of very heavy rainfall.

Birds seen:

Greylag Goose, Mute Swan, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Red Kite, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Common Tern, Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Blackbird, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Goldfinch.

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