Sunday, 20 March 2016

Sunday 20 March

I arrived to find conditions pretty much the same as the last few days, grey, chilly, a northerly breeze. By the time Dave joined me there was little sign that we were going to have an excellent morning. But we were.

The first stroke of good fortune came after Dave suggested we check out the old Curlew field. There was nothing in it, but he then spotted a small party of Snipe circling well to the north. With them were three small waders which we identified as Dunlin, the first here since one last May, and equalling the largest count for the site.

We jettisoned our original plan to walk across along the road, and hurried towards the flash field where we suspected the waders had gone. Half way there, a wader call to our left had us checking out another flock. This time they were 12 Golden Plovers. They wheeled around for several minutes before heading off east.

Nine of the Golden Plovers
As we approached the flash field a Curlew called, and we watched as it headed off to the north-east. I was too slow with the camera this time. However, we were pleased to find that the Dunlins were indeed on the nearest flash.

The three Dunlins and a Redshank
Also present were a few Lapwings and Snipe, 25 Teal, two Redshanks, and three Green Sandpipers. The trees beyond hosted about 100 Starlings, at least 30 Fieldfares, and several Redwings.

At this point spring officially arrived when we spotted the first Chiffchaff of the year fly-catching in the hedgerow.

On our return circuit we spotted a large flock of distant Golden Plovers, Dave reckoned about 200. I tried to get a photograph to count later, but they were too distant. However, later on another flock of Golden Plovers were close enough for a photo count, and contained 138 individuals.

138 Golden Plovers
So our final tally is either c 200, or c350, depending on whether the last flock were part of the 200, or a completely different party. Very impressive whatever.

It turned out we weren't the only ones having a good morning. A text from John Coombes revealed that a Gadwall had provided him with a Haselor Scrape tick. We could do with it coming here as we didn't get one last year.

Other notable sightings this morning were a pair of Mistle Thrushes, a Lesser Redpoll, five Mute Swans, a pair of Tufted Ducks, and two adult Black-headed Gulls.

Mistle Thrush
Common Buzzard

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