Dave joined me for this morning's circuit, and things began steadily enough. The first decent migrant was spotted by Dave as it flew through his binocular view, a Redstart. Eventually we caught up with it just past the pool.
At this point Dave got the dreaded Marsh Lane call. From his agonised expression I could tell it was something good, and indeed it turned out that a Gannet was sitting in the middle of Car Park Pool. There was no way Dave was going to be able to amble round with me when there was the prospect of a once in a lifetime bird at his other patch, so he made a beeline for his car leaving me to continue alone.
I spent a little time sifting through the flycatching warblers in the hedge before concluding they were all (at least five) Chiffchaffs. Then I spotted a rather long-necked duck flying from the direction of Bannams Wood. I was considering whether it could be a Pintail, or just a Mallard, but as it came closer its true identity was revealed. A female Goosander. Thirty years ago such a record would have been truly extraordinary as you never saw Goosanders in the Midlands before the end of October. But their status has gradually changed and they are now breeding in tiny numbers on rivers in Staffordshire and Worcestershire, and perhaps even Warwickshire. So though very unusual, particularly at Morton Bagot where a pair in April was only the second record, it was not quite as jaw-dropping as it would once have been. Oh, my camera was in my bag and the bird had headed off west before I could even think of a record shot.
I soon started looking at insects, finding a Common Wasp's nest, and several Dark Bush Crickets before I noticed a Hornet flying around. I had often hoped to photograph one here, but they never seem to land. However, this one did. It seemed to be scraping the bark of a small Ash, and I concluded it was chewing it up for later deposition in a hole somewhere as part of a communal nest-building process.
Heading on, I spotted a Lesser Whitethroat and several Blackcaps, and ended up back at the dragonfly pools, where a grasshopper took my attention.
|Lesser Marsh Grasshopper|
I had almost reached the car when I got a text from Dave saying he had seen the Gannet. Phew. I had one more bird up my sleeve. On a distant post sat another Redstart, this time an immature male. By the time I got closer it had disappeared, pretty typical of a Redstart.
All in all a pretty decent morning.