Monday, 31 August 2020

El Fondo, Elche

Sunday 30 August

El Fondo Nature Reserve with single Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata

Last leg of the journey home from Valencia to Mezquitilla and the route takes us within fifteen minutes of the El Fondo reserve at Elche near Alicante.  Why would we not call in and spend almost an hour at the Visitors Centre which also provided and ideal moment for a break and lunch, etc.?  Smiling as we drove past the North Gate, where visitors are admitted when opened and with the appropriate permit and immediately aware of the many Barn Swallows and House Martins swooping low over the car as they fed on the wing.  Then, maybe half-way between the gate and the VC itself, a Little Bittern flew low across the road immediately in front of the car suggesting that we might be in for an interesting walk along the boardwalk and paths once on the reserve.

As we parked the car we could see both a Little Egret and a quartet of Moorhen on the water immediately in front and all started very well as I noticed the few Moorhens and resting Mallards along with three Marbled Duck on the small pool immediately in front of the VC.

Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostris

Next the walk along the boardwalk which crossed the reed-covered pool and not the Common but rather a Red-knobbed Coot was the first bird to be recorded.  A Purple Swamphen made a big splash as it "jumped" the two metres to a new resting place in the middle-distance reeds.  Many more Common Coots on the water and then a second Red-knobbed Coot, this individual feeding a single recently fledged chick.

Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata

As I walked the path a Great White Egret flew over and I became aware how sticky the path was following the recent rain, so much so that soon my trainers were clogged with muddy clay and the surface became quite treacherous.  Reed Warblers were calling but rather a wasted journey despite seeing a couple of Flamingos flying overhead.  So back to the junction and turn right to visit the two hides overlooking their respective waters.

Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula

The first water held mainly Common Coots but a single Grey Heron was noted at the far end before discovering the "hiding" Little Grebe to my left.  The second water was much more productive with over 100 Flamingos.  Also seen was a handful of Back-winged Stilts and immediately in front of the hide a single Ringed Plover.  However, moving to the adjacent widow to look further left I also had a Wood Sandpiper in close proximity.

Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola

Time to return to the car park so that we could get back on the road and walking towards the VC when first a Cormorant then a couple of Glossy Ibis flew over the reserve.  House Sparrows in the bushes and approaching the car park a Wood Pigeon flew across and two Collared Doves were exploring the trees at the back.  Changing my shoes I could not help but notice the number of Barn Swallows and House Martins along with a couple of Red-rumped Swallows feeding in the area.  Finally, as I prepared to start the car not just a singe Little Egret and Moorhens in front of me but also a quartet of Cattle Egrets in the reeds at the water's edge.

Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus

Birds seen:

Mallard, Marbled Duck, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Glossy Ibis, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Heron, Flamingo, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Common Coot, Red-knobbed Coot, Ringed Plover, Wood Sandpiper, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, House Sparrow.

Just a sample of the many Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus present

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

Friday, 28 August 2020

Dipper at last!

 Friday 28 August

Time to leave our final hotel a little north of Jaca and travel onwards to Valencia including time for a short stop at the Laguna Gallocanta south-east of Zaragoza.  However, before departing I took a walk down to the rocky Rio Aragon at the back of the hotel and immediately disturbed a feeding Grey Wagtail.   All seemed very quiet as I scanned upstream and then to my great joy and delight found a preening, presumably young, Dipper on a rock to the left.  Not just one as further upstream I located a second, adult, Dipper.  Finally, as we packed the car and about to depart I looked through the fate and there was a female Common Redstart resting on the track not three metres away.  Once underway, with five minute we had seen both Red and Black Kite along with a Buzzard before a trio of Carrion Crows crossed the road in front of us.

Adult Dipper Cinclus cinclus

Before arriving at the Laguna Gallocanta we also encountered more Carrion Crows and Buzzards along with Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Doves and a few Magpies.  Once on site we discovered, unfortunately, that the Visitors Centre was closed for a five-day holiday so unable to extract any local information nor collect a local map to the laguna.  However, with House Sparrows, Spotless Starlings and Barn Swallows around the area and from the car park we could make out many birds on the water in the far distance, including Cormorants, before we set off to use the tracks to circumnavigate the laguna, allowing ourselves about and hour (eventually nearer 100 minutes) before continuing our drive to Valencia.  

The upper Rio Aragon

From the fort hide I was able to find a number of Shelduck, Avocets and quartering Marsh Harriers whilst in the nearby bushes both Reed Warbler and Linnet.  A further stop a short distance on a scan of the beach found a large flock of Dunlin and a single Redshank. Then, skulking behind a small tree in the water, a Purple Heron.

Moving on the car disturbed a small number of Spotless Starlings before a quintet if Stock Doves also appeared out from behind the few trees and flew away to our right.  With the advantage of a little height we came across a small abandoned building and sitting on the roof a Northern Wheatear.  Within the rest of our circuit we were to observe at least a further eight individuals.  A Common Kestrel took off from the back of the building. Below us on the distant water we could see a number of large white birds and the next observation post gave a clearer view revealing a small flock of Glossy Ibis to the left with many Little and a few Great White Egrets to their right.  Also present a handful or more of feeding Spoonbills and all accompanied by at least a dozen or more Grey Herons.

Mixture of Glossy Ibis, Spoonbill, Grey Heron and both Little and Great White Egrets

Continuing on we came across more Marsh Harriers and a pair of Buzzards along with a Lesser Kestrel.  A Black Redstart was feeding at the edge of the track and then a stop to observe the resting Whinchat.  Stopping to check out the bay below we then found a good number of Coot along with many Great Crested Grebes.  And so our drive continued picking up more Carrion Crows, House Sparrows and Marsh Harriers with the final species being a male Blackbird before heading off site to take the country lanes back to towards the motorway.

One of the high and distant Buzzards Buteo buteo

Birds seen:

Shelduck, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Purple Heron, Grey Heron, Glossy Ibis, Spoonbill, Red Kite, Black Kite, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Coot, Avocet, Dunlin, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Rock Dove, Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Barn Swallow, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Common Redstart, Black Redstart, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Blackbird, Reed Warbler, Dipper, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Linnet

The very obliging Dipper Cinclus cinclus


Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

Thursday, 27 August 2020

Back in Spain!

 Thursday 27 August

At precisely 13.30 local time we reached the Pyrenees summit at  Col de Somfort and crossed back into Spain.  A stop for coffee at the small cafe and what a way to restart our Spanish birding with a delightful trio of Griffon Vulture, House Martin and Alpine Accentor!  Also Spotless Starling before starting our decent to Canfranc Estacion.

Col de Somfort with France to right and Spain to left

Once parked up at Canfranc a look over the wall at the River Aragon produced both Grey and White Wagtails but no Dipper on this occasion.  However after a long-missed menu del dia we then recorded House Sparrows and a trio of Carrion Crows before spending time observing the progress that has already been achieved on revamping the original international railway station, once (so I believe) the second largest railway station in Europe.  I also believe it is still on the agenda to reinstate the railway line on the French side of the border so returning a wonderful scenic route between Canfranc and Pau.    Just imagine taking the High Speed train form Malaga top Zaragoza and then catch the new rail link to Pau and onward to Paris followed by Eurostar to London.  What dreams but in my life time?

The impressive railway station at Canfranc Estacion after exterior renovation. Just the single car train operated by Renfe between here and Zaragoza on the narrower Spanish gauge.

May only have been recorded eight species but still good to be back and the possibility of a visit to the large laguna of Gallocanta, south of Zaragoza, as we make our way eastwards to Valencia for a couple of nights with youngest son. (For more information follow these links: 1. ONE and 2.TWO )

Birds seen:

Griffon Vulture, House Martin, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Alpine Accentor, Carrion Crow, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow.

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

Monday, 24 August 2020

Wheatears and Yellow Wagtails

Northern Wheatear Motacilla flavisima

Monday 24 August

Last day in UK so took a ;late afternoon walk along Workmans Lane on the southern edge of Warsash where Lesser Whitethroats had been reported for the past few days.  Midday had seen torrential rain and once home the rains returned.  However, the really bad news was a text to say that our Newhaven - Dieppe ferry had been cancelled due to the bad weather,  Not a lot of help receiving the message at 16.30 with the office closing at 17.00 hours!!

Arriving at the start of the lane a number of Wood Pigeons about as I walked its length. Near the far end I started to see very many Jackdaws and setting off in the reverse direction I took the opportunity, accompanied by a fellow birder I met also walking the lane, to take the path alongside the very large paddock holding a number of feeding horses.  At the far side of the fields a large mixed flock of Jackdaws and Rooks plus a smaller number of Crows.  The Starling flock, which seemed continually on the move, totalled well over two hundred.  But nearer to us were a couple of Magpie.

A small selection of the distant Rooks Corvus frugilegus

Checking the fences we found a trio of Northern Wheatears and then set about scanning the areas around the respective horses for feeding Yellow Wagtails.  The searching certainly paid dividends as we eventually ended up with at least ten individuals and more sightings of he above Northern Wheatears. And leaving the field to return to the narrow lane we were met by a single Robin.

Northern Wheatear Motacilla flavisima

Birds seen:

Wood Pigeon, Yellow Wagtail, Robin, Northern Wheatear, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling.

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

Sunday, 23 August 2020

Keyhaven Marshes, Hampshire

 Sunday 23 August

Rain on the way but all dry once we three arrived at Lower Pennington to visit the Keyhaven Marshes and check out the Solent.  A lovely scenic drive through the eastern New Forest passing through Lyndhurst, Brockenhurst and Lymington.  On the other hand, just about every other car was also undertaking the same journey as far as Lyndhurst so lots of traffic delays!  Not a lot of birds seen as we left it too late to gain the benefit of shore birding and very few birds resting on the marshes other than very many Black-headed Gulls and a huge flock of Canada Geese on a nearby field but a beautiful scenic day out which was enhanced by our wandering return journey taking in Beaulieu and Hyde before returning to Warsash on the Hamble river.  And, certainly, the ponies seem to have been very productive this past year!

Walking from the car park at the end of Lower Pennington Lane to the Solent we recorded Carrion Crows and Wood Pigeon along with a Magpie.  A stop to check the grasses just before the end of the path revealed a single Curlew.

Curlew Numenius arquata

Once on the sea wall it was obvious that we ought to have arrived a couple of hours earlier to check the shore as the tide was now up to the pebbles.  However, resting on some rusty old iron supports just of the shore we counted 14 Turnstones.  Behind us on one of the pools we had a Little Egret followed by a Greenshank then the first two of the five Redshanks recorded.  A few Starlings before finding the main flock and time to walk westwards.  But not before checking the sea where, about two hundred meters off shore, we found a large raft of 28 sea ducks swimming slowly westwards almost in line astern.  Almost sure that they were Common Scoters but took record shots and, upon returning home, decided they were in fact Eider Ducks.

Some of the drifting Eider Ducks Somateria mollissima

Walking towards Keyhaven, the next pool provided more Redshanks and a Heron plus single Little Egret.  A Mute Swan and couple of Mallards were nearer to me and so we pressed on.  With Hurst Castle and a distant view of the Needles ahead, we stopped at an inlet where we found a trio of resting Cormorant on the far side along with an Oystercatcher.  However, immediately in front of us and slowly drifting away were another couple of Eider Ducks.

Eclipse male Eider Duck Somateria mollissima

Well beyond the bank to the right of the Cormorants another couple of Heron and, even further back, a small resting flock of Black-tailed Godwits.  (Good job I carried the scope!)  The final water produced a quartet of Little Egrets, two Herons and a large flock of Black-headed Gulls before we found three more Oystercatchers.

Then it was back to the car and our picnic before completing our scenic drive of the eastern New Forest by returning to the motorway vis Beaulieu and Hyde, the latter on Southampton Water.  This lovely drive, with a few diversions of the main road, also produced Rooks, Jackdaws, Collared Dove and a Buzzard and, for me, at least I now know where to find the relevant sites for a future visit.

Birds seen:

Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Mallard, Eider Duck, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Buzzard, Oystercatcher, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Greenshank, Redshank, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling.

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Hamble River, Warsash

Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus

 Saturday 22 August

Late morning and time for a walk alongside the River Hamble at Warsash.  Crossing the road in front of the house I was at the mouth of the Hamble in a couple of minutes.  On the water’s edge to my left a Turnstone, seven Black-tailed Godwits and a Redshank as Jenny and I started our walk upstream with warm sunshine and broken clouds behind and above us plus a very strong, gusty wind pushing us along.  Regular sightings of many Black-headed Gulls and every inlet and island seemed to reveal another dozen or do Black-tailed Godwits.  With the water less than a couple of hours short of high tide, we expected to get closer views of any waders as we covered about a kilometre before returning along the same riverside path.

Turnstone Arenaria interpres

Continuing on and the flat, muddy expense to our right revealed more Black-headed but also a couple of Herring Gulls and resting Common Tern on an island next to the shore.  Looking closely at the island we also found eight Ringed Plovers and a solitary Bar-tailed Godwit.  Three Starlings flew in to forage on the rapidly shrinking shore and then we came across three Carrion Crows at the far end of the next island.

Herring Gull Larus argentatus

A stop to check out the remaining mud flats in the reserved area for resting birds not only produced scores of Black-headed Gulls but also the gathering roost of Black-tailed Godwits which now exceeded an hundred.  Nearly caught us out before we realised the lone bird was in fact a Whimbrel.  Not just a Whimbrel but a short distance away a couple of Curlew and then a small flock of ten Dunlin took off and headed downstream.  Also present a score of Redshank, another Dunlin and a few Herring Gulls.  On the grasses at the back at least four Heron and a similar number of Little Egrets.  The Wood Pigeon at the back of the marsh led our eyes to find a trio of Lapwing and then time to make the walk back in the face of bright sunshine and the strong wind.  As we departed a trio of Common Tern were flying over the deepening pool.  By now the water was almost up to the bank and pouring through the sluice channels to cover the previously damp mud flats.

Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa

What next?  Perhaps a late afternoon to the Warsash shore on Southampton Water if the wind dies down a little to justify carrying the scope.

EXTRA:

Late afternoon saw me parked up on the outskirts of Warsash so I could walk down the path through the Hook with Warsash Nature Reserve to the shore of Southampton Water.  Not as I expected; the tide was still in and up to the shingle beach and the wind still very strong off the water.  Walking down the pat I had a very brief sighting of a Little Egret over the reeds of the reed-filled lake to my right and a fast disappearing Magpie in front of me.  A few Wood Pigeons about and then a trio of Carrion Crows near the end of the walk and I caught up with them again foraging on the shore.

With no shelter straight to the fresh water scrape with its viewing point conveniently sheltered behind some large bushes so protecting me from the wind. Since my last visit in early July the water levels have risen sufficiently to cover the shallow spit on the far side of the water.  The water itself was very quiet with maybe a dozen resting Black-headed Gulls and a pair of Mallard.  A flock of six Canada Geese flew over and the the sight of large flock of Starlings, in excess of 200, constantly moving between reeds, bramble bushes (lots of ripe blackberries) and the shore.  Enough is enough so I returned to the car noticing the single Cormorant flying down Southampton Water and a lone male Blackbird at the end of the path.

Birds seen:

Canada Goose, Mallard, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Whimbrel, Redshank, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Common Tern, Wood Pigeon, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Starling.

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

Friday, 21 August 2020

Titchfield Haven, Hampshire

 Friday 21 August

Now in Warsash for a few days until we start the drive back to Spain next Tuesday.  Awake early so drove over to nearby Titchfield Haven or, to be more correct, the Meon shore as the reserve itself is not open at 7am and entrance is now by pre-booking online.  What a morning; broken cloud and reasonable temperature with the wind blowing an absolute gale as the current storm arrives in the UK.  At least it is dry.  On the other hand, very difficult to hold the bins still never mind use a scope to check out the deserted beach with the tide well out.  Best sightings were achieved by sitting in car with the opposite side taking the force of the wind.

Redshank Tringa totanus

No sooner out of the village and I had recorded both Magpie and Wood Pigeons and driving along the shore road to find the best parking spot, lots of choice, a couple of Cormorant flew over.  A good number of gulls and Cormorants out on the shore and edges and soon identified Black-headed, Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls.

Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus with Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus

Next a walk along the edge to the reserve entrance and a few Coot plus a single Great Crested Grebe noted on the exterior pool on my left.  The outlet to the Meon river held a couple of Mute Swans and very many Mallard.  Back to the car and check the shore below more carefully.  An Oystercatcher was very obvious but then, resting within yards, a Common Tern and a couple more in flight just above.  A distant couple of Great Black-backed Gulls before noticing the movement between the rocks which duly revealed a quintet of Redshank and a dozen or more Turnstone.

Turnstone Arenaria interpres

Further away, many more Mallard and a pair of Canada Geese before a single Starling flew past looking for shelter in the dense bushes, which then led me to note the Little Grebe on the above reserve water.  Finally, deciding I was on a loser with the present windy conditions, I decided upon an early return for breakfast and noted a single Collared Dove as I made my departure.  In the end, surprised that I actually saw as many as 19 species in the short time.

Juvenile Common Tern Sterna hirundo

Birds seen:

Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Mallard, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Coot, Oystercatcher, Redshank, TurnstoneBlack-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Common Tern, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Magpie, Starling.

Black-headed Gull with immature Herring Gull and Oystercatcher

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

Monday, 17 August 2020

Baston Gravel Pits, Lincolnshire

 Monday 17 August

Appointment in Market Deeping at 11.30 so time to make a quick call to Baston Gravel Pits on my way back to Stamford, a rather unexpected last minute birding visit especially as it was an almost clear sky, sunny and warm and no breeze.  But just twenty minutes to check out the western and eastern pools long with the entrance to the neighbouring, working, gravel pit.

Checking the eastern pool first lots of resting Greylag Geese, well over a 100 present.  Almost as many resting Lapwing and Coot, albeit some of the latter were out on the actual water itself.  Just the one juvenile Moorhen and a single Heron but over a score of feeding Mute Swans.  Lots of foraging Starlings to be found, mainly amongst the resting flocks.  On the water itself a small number of Tufted Duck and even fewer Mallards.  In amongst the resting flocks I also found a quartet of Little Egret and a couple of Common Tern.

Greylag Goose Anser anser

fewer birds on the western pool but five Little Grebes noted along with a few Mallard, Tufted Duck and Coot.  Another four Little Egret on the far bank and as many as a half-dozen Mute Swans.  Having noted the Black-headed Gulls, it was a joy to find a pair of both Common and Great Black-backed plus a trio of Herring Gulls.

Mute Swan Cygnus olor

Moving to the end of the road to turn towards Baston, apart from the occasional passing Wood Pigeon I also recorded a pair of Carrion Crows and the a charm of 15 Goldfinch on the wires.  Finally, circling above the working quarry, no sand martins but a lone Buzzard.  last birds of the day were the dozen Jackdaws feeding on the roadside grass a little further on.  


Birds seen:

Greylag Goose, Mute Swan, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Tern, Wood Pigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Starling, Goldfinch.

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

Sunday, 16 August 2020

Rutland Water

 Sunday 16 August

Up early and over at Rutland Water by 6.30 for my final birding trip before starting the long journey back to Spain on Tuesday, with a week's break in the south of England.  Chance for some local birding there, weather permitting.  Damp, overcast and calm but not cold albeit a little misty at the start so not ideal light for either bins or camera.  As I approached the usual mass of Wood Pigeons and a small flock of Rooks were departing the site heading north for new feeding pastures.  Two shivering Magpies on a gate then another couple once arrived.  No shortage of Jackdaws this morning.  Fortunately, a couple of Starling on the farm roofs as I entered the car park but I had to wait until I was driving out to see my only Collared Dove of the morning.

First stop the Feeding Station where I recorded a fair number of both Blue and Great Tits along with a handful of Chaffinch and a single Greenfinch.  A couple of Dunnock were mopping up the dropped seed and then the third of a dozen Blackbirds seen on site.  So onto the northern hides and reaching the gated corner just north of the Badger Hide a Wren and two Robins on the fence. All quiet at the Redshank Hide although I was in time to see, what looked like, the awakening departure of birds from the Sand Martin colony.

Arriving at the Sandpiper Hide overlooking Lagoon 4 I was somewhat surprised by the lack of birds to be seen.  An Egyptian Goose was standing on top of the Osprey's nest and a Mute Swan was feeding on the water immediately in front of the hide.  Once settled, I then added Black-headed Gulls, Moorhen, Little Egret and Little Grebe plus a small number of Herons and Mallards.  The scope revealed the Greylag Geese and more Mute Swans at the back of the lagoon and even a pair of Great Back-backed Gulls on the distant island.  Just as I was about to depart a pair of Goldfinches landed on the thistles immediately outside the hide.

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

Walking to the Shoveler Hide overlooking Lagoon 3 a tailless cock Pheasant flew up in front of me and then I settle into another damp hide.  (The only problem with a policy of keeping doors and windows permanently open is that when it rains, at best, you have damp seats and very wet shelves for supporting elbows and placing equipment, etc.)  On the water in front of the hide a number of Teal, Gadwall and Mallard. The number of Lapwing present was low, perhaps because of my early arrival, as also were Little Egret numbers.  A couple of Great White Egrets and and more Moorhens along with huge rafts of Tufted Duck on the open water accompanied a few Great Crested Grebes and more Gadwall.  Not long before I was able to add a few Wigeon and then, in addition to many more Black-headed Gulls, I was able to count the 18 Common Tern present on the little island in front of the hide.  Two Green Sandpipers were feeding at the western end of this island whilst nearer to me a handful of Black-tailed Godwits had arrived to feed.

One of ten Great White Egrets Egretta alba

Nothing else to report from any of the hides stretching out towards the South Arm so I made my way back to the Visitors Centre.  Stopping at the area created to encourage Whitethroats, the gated corner referred to above, lots of small bird activity.  A number of "Chiffwillows" (unable to distinguish between Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler) were very active before identifying a definite Chiffchaff.  A couple of Reed Bunting were more accommodating with their foraging and then my attention was drawn to the Long-tailed Tit feeding in the tree opposite.  (A passing birder also reported that standing around the corner he had seen a couple of Lesser Whitethroat.)

Once back to the entry road I continued on southwards to visit the Mallard Hide overlooking Lagoon 1.  In addition the birds already recorded, especially Heron, Black-headed Gull, Mallard, Tufted Duck and Teal, I now as able to add a few waders including another Green Sandpiper, more Black-tailed Godwits plus a couple of Dunlin and five Ringed Plover.  No sign of the recently reported White-rumped Sandpiper but, there again, the visibility was not good and I might not have recognised the bird even if seen.  Not having seen as yet the local Cormorants, they finally arrived but no Coots.

Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa

The homeward journey took me via Manton Bay where I stopped to view the Osprey nest, holding a wing-flapping youngster and adult above whilst below there were still many occupied Great Crested Grebe nests and, at last, some of the local Coots.  I even had a wandering House Sparrow to complete the morning's birding.

Birds seen:

Greylag Goose, Mute Swan, Egyptian Goose, Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard, Teal, Tufted Duck, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Heron, Osprey, Moorhen, Coot, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Green Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Tern, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting.

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

Saturday, 15 August 2020

RSPB Frampton Marsh, Boston

 Friday 14 August

Twelve of the twenty-eight Spoonbills Platalea leucorodia at Frampton Marsh

Arriving back in Stamford from Frampton Marsh near Boston in Lincolnshire I came across a handful of Jackdaw so taking my species total for the day up to a round 60.  The day had started cold, cloudy and quite windy as I set off, recording a pair of Magpie and Rooks on the way.  Upon arrival I immediately recorded Wood Pigeon and House Sparrow along with a number of Barn Swallows as I made my way to the far car park near the high bank.  There was a handful of Dunlin working the stream to my right and the first charm of Goldfinches was working the thistles adjacent to the hedgerow.  A single Mute Swan rested on the bank of the stream and the first Little Egret of the day was noted.

Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta, Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa and Ruff Philomachus pugnax

Juvenile Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta

Checking out the grassland with its many muddy pools to the north I soon added Greylag Goose and both Mallard and Teal, noticing many of he latter so these ducks are obviously making their way home. A lone Moorhen then an adult Shelduck before the first of many Avocet, including lots of fledged youngsters.  A lone Little Ringed Plover to my right and as I made my way up the slope to the high bank the first of the Canada Geese came into view.  From the top, just inside the gate, I was soon picking up numerous Black-headed Gulls and Black-tailed Godwits along with Lapwing and Coot.  A couple of Cormorant took their leave before I added both Pied Wagtail and a Common Redshank.

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa

Moving further along the bank to the first seat I next recorded a quintet of Ringed Plover alongside a pair of Little Stint.  Three Little Grebe were feeding in a deep pool and then a close view pf my first of many Ruff.  On the salt marshes below the bank a half-dozen Yellow Wagtails were following a small section of the grazing cattle whilst, in the background, a hovering Kestrel.

Ruff Philomachus pugnax

Returning along the bank then following the path back to my car a Reed Warbler exchanged reeds to the other side of the path and a couple of Meadow Pipits were seen on the path with another Pied Wagtail.  Working my way back to the main car park I noticed the single Mute Swan on my left and from the parked car picked up a Carrion Crow resting on the grass.

Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis

Then it was across to the picnic area next to the Visitors Centre to check out the main water.  It was immediately obvious that the mass of white belonged to Little Egrets (a total of 116 was counted) rather than the 27 Spoonbills.  I have never seen so many Little Egrets gathered together, all packed together like a raft of godwits.  In amongst the serried ranks were at least a dozen Heron along more ducks including a number of Gadwall.  Nearer to hand on the small island in front of me a Green Sandpiper and an even closer Snipe.

So many Little Egret Egretta garzetta with over 100 on site

A clockwise walk round the water revealed numerous Goldfinches including a charm of over 100 individuals and a couple of Great Tits before I duly arrived at the Reedbed Hide.  Opposite the hide a mixed flock of Greylag and Canada Geese also contained a single Egyptian Goose.  Once inside the hide, a small number of Starling were seen on the dead tree in the centre island and a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls and then I noticed a good number of Tufted Duck along with a handful of Wigeon, the latter all resting on the nearest island.  In addition to the many Spoonbill and Little Egret I could now see the increasing rafts of Black-tailed Godwits and Dunlin.  Also present was a single Pochard and a single Great Crested Grebe with five Little Grebe feeding immediately in front of the hide.  A number of Swifts flew past in front of the hide alongside the mainly Barn Swallows and as we followed them back to the trees we were also able to identify a few House Martins.  At this point we were joined by a male Blackbird on the nearby island which revealed a couple of Common Gulls as I followed the bird and even managed a couple of Great Black-backed Gulls.  Checking the resting ducks and Avocets on a far island to the left I noticed not only a Ruff but a Common Sandpiper working its way along the water's edge.

Maybe only two Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia  but over a thousand Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa

So back to the main car park with a stop to take a closer look at the long-staying Whooper Swan which conveniently woke up, stood and presented its beak to confirm identification.

Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus with Mallard Anas platyrhynchos

Time to take a drive back down to the bottom car park in order to recheck the pools from the high banks and pleased to say that I found a quintet of Spotted Redshank.  Not only that but also a handful of Curlew Sandpiper and in the wet grassland to the south of the track I finally found the Golden Plover but only five on this occasion. And so I made my departure towards home noting the lone Collared Dove before reaching Frampton village.

Three distant Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus (centre left)
Dunlin Calidris alpina

However, rather than straight home I made a slight deviation to call in at Baston Gravel Pits for fifteen minutes, especially as the weather was no much warmer.  Lots of Greylag and a few Canada Geese along with Mute Swans.  Ducks included Mallard and Tufted and of course the usual Coot plus a single Moorhen.

On the western pool  both Great Black-backed and Black-headed Gulls whilst the eastern pool haled a couple of resting Common Terns.  Naturally, there was a small number of Lapwing to be seen and always a Wood Pigeon or two passing overhead.  The final birds recorded were a number of Sand Martins flying around the adjacent sane quarry.

More Little Egret Egretta garzetta with Black-headed Gulls Larus ridibundus to front

Birds seen:

Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Whooper Swan, Egyptian Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard, Pochard, Teal, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Spoonbill, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Little Stint, Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff, Snipe, Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Back-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Tern, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Common Swift, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Meadow Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird, Reed Warbler, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Goldfinch.

Distant record shot of the Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria

Wigeon Anas penelope

Spoonbill, Little Egret, Grey Heron Ardea cinerea, Black-headed Gulls, etc

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