Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Ferry Meadows, 28.8.04
It was a busy old long weekend over the late August Bank Holiday. I got up early to trawl through Ferry Meadows for passerine migrants. The Redstarts as outlined below were the highlight of the trip. I was lucky to bump into a female as I arrived at the patch of Coney Meadows where it had been seen before over a period of about a week. Lucky because it vanished after a few seconds and wasn't back for another 45 minutes. Soon after it reappeared in the same bush, a first-winter male started calling behind me, its 'hooeet-tic' call seemingly disturbing a Willow Warbler in the same bush. The pics below were the only two I could muster before it disappeared.
Also in the Coney Meadows area were plenty of warblers (Whitethroats, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcaps and Willow Warblers) as well as a good few Reed Buntings. A lot of the birds seemed to gather on the sunny side facing Lynch Lake to get a kick start at the early hour.
Heading back to the car (parked at Milton Ferry Bridge) I couldn't resist snapping a Grey Heron on Heron Meadows and bumped into a few groups of Willow Warbler and Chiffchaffs (mainly juvs/first-winters) patrolling around in mixed 'flocks'.
Young Swallows and one or two Sand Martins perched in the top of the willows lining Overton Lake.
On the edge of Heron Meadows some young Goldfinches were gathering, still wanting feeding by their parents.
Baston and Langtoft
Later that evening I got a prompt message about a Pied Flycatcher up in the north of the area. I drove by Joash Jones the finder who put me onto the right trees. Howver, even though Brian The Natural Stone and his son helped scour the area, there was no further sign. Gripped, I picked up Josh's leftover Spotted Flycatcher on the way back.
Hampton and Orton Brick Pit, 29.8.04
On Sunday mornign I went for a change of location and hit the Hampton area (sounds painful). The area at the back of Tescos has a new road through the muddy industrial waste, and had a bucketload of Wheatears in the spring. It looked ripe for one again, and true to form a young bird (between juvenile and first-winter plumage) was enjoying the pipes, bricks and concrete lumps of the area.
At Orton Brick pit it started to rain. Out of the 'mound' which overlooks the main lake, a female Pheasant skulked quickly away through the long grass. I soon realised why as some squeaking at my feet revealed some tiny, stripey Pheasant chicks which had surely just hatched. As they squeaked their mother started making a horrible squealing noise and running round in circles. It was time for a hasty retreat...
Further down the track the highlights were a distant calling Curlew, a distant calling Buzzard and a distant cream-crown Marsh Harrier being mobbed by Woodpigeons. One or two hares dashed away from me. Later that mornign I returned with my children and there were even fewer birds but plenty of Migrant Hawker and Common Darters. My daughter described the place as magical.
In the afternoon, I had a quick chase around the 'secret' site of CEGB reservoir. Water levels are very high here as was the wind level. I lifted up a few bits of the numbered corrugated metal that are scattered around. Under the first three I found a mouse under each. Later, the last I lifted had two Common Lizards underneath (but they scarpered pretty smartish).
King's Dyke (30.8.04)
Boy is there some mighty fine habitat at the back of King's Dyke (ie. Whittlesey) near the Green Wheel. On a windy day, though there was virtually nowt on offer except three Greenshanks flying about, five Snipe which tried to land at the edge of the reedbed. Also, some young Swallows were hangin about, waiting for food action.
Baston and Langtoft again
Despite ridiculous winds I went up to Grummit's scrape in the extreme north of the PBC area. A cream-crown Marsh Harrier did the rounds, but other than that the best wildlife was a Brown Hare who thought I couldn't see it...
Posted by BW at 4:15 PM