Thursday, October 31, 2019

Baston Fen Water Pipit

At the start of the year, the flooded fields of Baston Fen attracted a neat flock of Water Pipits (up to 20 at times). Well, this autumn, there is similar flooding and at least three Water Pipits were present in late October. This is the most striking individual.

Farcet Fen Black Redstart

Found on his roof by Steve Dudley on 27 October, this is bird 189 for my PBC year list

Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Ferry Meadows Common Tern

During our regular vis mig sessions from The Mound at Ferry Meadows CP, on Monday (14.10.19) Don Gardener and I were just talking about the Common Tern I had seen flying south at Etton two days previously, when as if by magic a Common Tern flew by over Gunwade Lake. It is still there today (17.10.19). Yesterday, at sunset, I tried to photograph the tern, as I foudn its appearance slightly odd, and certainly interesting, as it is firstly a very late bird for a CT (11 days later than Don's latest, seen last year), secondly it is in winter plumage, with a black bill etc, thirdly it is quite scruffy looking and fourthly, there was something odd about it in general, giving it an almost Arctic Tern like front end, even though the wings and flight style said Common Tern. Looking at the photos this morning revealed a potential solution to all these points: it only has half a maxilla, making it look almost like it has a skimmer's bill. Let's hope it can feed ok even if preening has become problematic... Watch this space for an update on how long it remains at Ferry Meadows.
PS I believe the bird I saw on Saturday flying due south is most likely to be the same individual. Etton slurry Pit is less than 9km due north of Gunwade Lake, and the bird was flying due south. I don't think anyone looked at FMCP on Sunday, as it was pretty rainy, nasty weather for most of the day.
PPS Here are a couple more photos I took this lunchtime. One shows a little bit better the 'break' of the bill and the other shows that the tern can still catch small fish in its odd bill.

PPPS It came to roost on buoy 8 on Gunwade Lake

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Cattle Egret, Ferry Meadows CP

In these modern times, where herons rule, you may be forgiven for shrugging at a distant photo of a Cattle Egret. But, this individual is only the second of its species ever seen in the well-watched Ferry Meadows Country Park. The first was in October 2018, and was found by Don Gardener, who was standing by me (and Andy Frost) vis-migging on The Mound, at c8.30am, as I called "egret" as it emerged, flying past the trees nearby. The first thing that struck me was the dark feet, then the compact build, and then the orange bill! It flew west-north-west over Gunwade and landed in the damp grassland of Long Meadow near the Pyramid among the cattle. Don and I cycled round through the deeply flooded path to get these shots. There were also at least three Stonechats by the Pyramid. The egret was a tad mobile and changed position on the meadow a few times (so I am told... I had to leave for work), and may have departed the park at 9.24am

One of three Stonechats on Long Meadow