Sunday, 5 February 2012

Wader influx


  The overnight snow arrived as forecast, and I decided to risk the drive as far as Morton Bagot church. I am very glad I did. After a couple of Nuthatches calling from Bannam's Wood were a soft year tick, I waded my way through the snow to the flashes. The early signs were promising as I could hear Greylag Geese calling, and could soon see swirls of Mallard (115), and plenty of Lapwing. I quickly found a Curlew, the first here since December 2010. This used to be a dead cert year tick as a pair bred every year in an area of rough grassland. Last year the new owner of the field decided to graze his cattle on it, so the Curlews did not turn up. Scanning through the Lapwings, I saw that the Ruff was still present, and there was also another year-tick in the shape of a Dunlin. This species is just about annual, and can turn up at any time of year, but it's still a great addition to the day. I couldn't see anything else, so decided to walk around the fields. It was apparent that there had been an influx of Skylarks (60), while two Sparrowhawks caused great panic as they chased each other across the field. On returning to the flashes an hour later I could see that there were some Teal largely out of view behind the fence at the back of the flash field. I then had another look at the main flash and found a drake Pintail. This is only the third record for the site for me. I phoned John Yardley who I knew was on his way on foot from Studley. A Green Sandpiper and several Snipe made the wader tally six. This was turning into the best visit this year. John arrived and saw all the good stuff, at which point a great flock of Teal and Snipe flew in from beyond the fence. I counted 97 Teal, 90 Black-headed Gulls, and estimated 20 Snipe and about 200 Starlings. The reason for their sudden appearance soon became apparent as two lads and a dog came through the gate and started skating about on the ice. As the birds made a rapid exit, so did I.

No comments:

Post a Comment