Friday, May 24, 2019

Sanderling, Baston and Langtoft (wader pit), Lincs


The 'wader pit' at BLGP was a little bit on fire yesterday. In the morning, Josh Jones pulled off his usual trick of finding us something good on returns to his former patch. This time it was a Sanderling, hanging out with hadnfuls of Ringed Plovers and Dunlin (one of which was displaying and singing!). Meanwhile, the same pit had a Grey Plover (for its third or fourth day), plus an outrageous four Avocets (very scarce birds in this neck of the woods). In the evening, Sandy was still there on the small islands with his friends, now 6 Ringed Plovers and 6 Dunlin.
At one stage a gang of waders departed high (Sanderling, 5 Dunlins and 2 Ringed Plovers). After about five minutes, the Ringed Plovers came back. And even stranger, after 12 minutes so did the calidrids. And another 15 later, a mob of 6 new Dunlin came down and joined the gang: big, beefy, dark birds, with more extensive black bellies than the ones already present. So, I left the situation with Sanderling, 12 Dunlin, 6 Ringed Plovers, 1 Little Ringed Plover and a Grey Plover.

Immature male Broad-bodied Chaser, Castor Hanglands

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Purple Heron, Maxey/Etton pits, Cambs


This morning I was at 'Maxton' at 5.05. Two days ago Nathan Stimpson had seen a Purple Heron there and yesterday had reported seeing it twice. So, it was certainly worth an early start to see if it flew in. It duly did! I saw it in flight (low) at 5.45 and it landed by an east-west ditch due north of the hide where 'Dogbite Bench' used to be (and where I was). After a short while it flew east along the ditch, landing very near the hardly-used north hide. It then disappeared into the vegetation and was probably fishing alongside the reed-fringed ditch when I was forced to go home at c7.45am.
It doesn't look like a full breeding adult, but it is showing more adult features than I would have thought for a first-summer bird (with a bit of maroon/purple colour coming through and a bit of face pattern). So perhaps it is a second-summer bird (or a very dull adult).
The photos are not great mainly because it was 5.45am...

Monday, May 20, 2019

Baikal Teal (record shot)


On Saturday (18 May), I went to look at March Farmers from the north bank of the Nene, east of the Cross Guns pumping station (where the footpath goes down to Ring's End). I figured I would be a bit closer to any waders which have been hanging around in a flooded field half a mile or so east of the MF car park. Unfortunately, the only passage waders were a few Greenshanks. Avocets were using the river as a commuter run between the feeding areas and their nests a little west of the MF car park. It was along there that I snapped the Scarce Chaser (see below on the blog).
Just as I got back to the car and was heading off, I thought I would quickly check the flooded area west of the MF car park, to see if anything interesting was around. This is the area where the Baikal Teal had been in the first week of the month. It hadn't been reported since 7 May. But, a. We have very few birders checking this area, b. Birders are quick to abandon a place after negative news, c. It could be very elusive during its earlier 'showy period' d. the water levels had got pretty low, so there were more hiding places; bu the recent rain had increased the flood. So, I thought there was a chance that it would still be around. I was right.
I later stood and watched it and tried to get a visiting birder on it (it only took 2.5 hours!). As we scanned, we had a few groups of Ringed Plovers and Dunlin pass through (perhaps 30 RPs and 20 Ds), Greenshank, drake Garganey and four Ruffs (including a fascinating bared-faced blond male), distant booming Bittern and about 10 Cranes. The teal was a sleepy bird and it had been hunkered down among Water Mint or some such plant (probably the only time it wasn't with its best mate a drake Wigeon, with which it exchanged the odd display move)

Bills bending in different directions


Avocet, over the River Nene, March Farmers (from north bank of Nene, 18 May
Curlew, departing Maxey-Etton pit, at 10.25am 19 May

First Scarce Chaser of the year


This newly emerged beauty was on the banks of the Nene east of Cross Guns (level with March Farmers)

Monday, May 13, 2019

The Deepings Whimbrel


This Whimbrel was found a few days ago in the field used as a car-park by the Exotic Pet Refuge of Deeping St James, South Lincolnshire. As it happens, this is also a hedge hop from the east pit of Deeping Lakes, LWT, where the bird would go to bathe and feed on the shore, occasionally. The rest of the time, over the weekend, it was happy to wander around in the grass pull out earthworms.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Some recent snippets


Cattle Egret and friend, Deeping Lakes LWT (bank of the River Welland), Lincolnshire
Cranes, Nene Washes, Cambridgeshire (flight shot was part of a flock of 14)
Yellow Wagtail, March Farmers, Cambs
Male Cuckoo, March Farmers, Cambs
Otter, one of four on the Maxey Cut, Cambs
Lapwing, Deeping High Bank, Lincs
Red-crested Pochard brood, Baston and Langtoft pits, Lincs