Sunday, 31 March 2013

Sunday March 31

I met Dave at Netherstead Farm on another cold and frosty morning. The wind was quite light, but still from the east and bitterly cold. As Dave's summer migrant count was still on zero, an objective was set to at least get him off the mark.

This was achieved as we approached the main pool. A male Wheatear was perched on the top of a dead tree usually frequented by one of the local Kestrels. Soon afterwards we added a Chiffchaff which appeared in the scrubby western border of the pool field. The pool itself was frozen solid so the Tufted Duck had gone. The three Mute Swans were still present along with Canada and Greylag Geese, some Teal and about 40 Mallard. At the flashes we counted 27 Teal, 20 Common Snipe, a Green Sandpiper, and the pair of Little Ringed Plovers which had abandoned the frozen mud and were searching the pasture for food.

Little Ringed Plover
Behind us, the set aside field contained at least 50 Meadow Pipits, 30 Linnets, and about 10 Skylarks. We approached the shed silently, but there was no sign of the Barn Owl today.

Finally, we decided to check out the south end. At least 10 Buzzards circled, and a flock of eight Golden Plovers hurried south. We also saw a couple of Sparrowhawks thermalling, but on the whole it was pretty quiet. The last bird of the visit was a calling Chiffchaff near our cars, but a quick search for it was unsuccessful.

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