Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Starting over!

Right i've fallen behind again, but with the fact that a few people have started reading my blog again, i'm going to try to keep up. I had begun writing a LONG post detailing everything i'd done over the past few weeks, and even though it was a good few weeks, it seemed a mammoth task trying to remember everything, even with the help of BTO birdtrack.

So, i will start from here, although when i get home i'll do a little highlight post, as i have seen some good birds and taken some good photos over the weeks. I'll try and keep it up (my brother does a music blog EVERY day - too much time on his hands haha!)

So today i went out for a brief visit to Netherfield Lagoons, it would have been nice to stay longer, but against the theme of the last few weeks of lovely warm sunny weather, it turned out to be very windy and cold. In my shorts i didnt last long, so just did a recce of the reserve, concentrating on the slurry lagoon, before heading off.

The reason i visited today was the fact that there had been a drake Garganey sighted over the weekend, so i rushed down after seeing a report at 8 30am that it was still present. I got to the slurry lagoon and set my scope up on a fencing post and scanned the water. Lots of gulls, a scattering of Gadwall and a mix of coots and mallards... hmm...

I moved further down the path and scanned again, and then noticed a small group of Teal nestling in the reeds, out of the wind. Having only recently discovered that Garganey are of a similar size, i scrutinized the patch of reeds, and was rewarded finally with a little duck, chestnut brown, with a pale midriff and that tell-tale white eyestripe. Well... sort of. It all added up eventually, but as the bird was so far away, asleep and tucked in the reeds, it was difficult to match up all these features in one, but once i had confirmed it, it was obvious and my first ever sighting of this rare visitor to our shores.

Elsewhere was a bit of birdlife but the wind made viewing difficult, though there were lots of hirundines about. In their conspecific flocks were Swallows, mainly swooping low over the deep pit and over the trees by the lower path, Sand Martins, sticking closer to the river, and high over the Slurry Lagoon were my first House Martins of the year - easily recognised from sand martins by their more forked tail, lack of neck band and white rump (it would have been difficult to tell from the colour as they were against a grey sky.

I actually went on saturday to the lagoons, so i wasnt too bothered about sticking around, as i had seen plenty then, and it was lovely and sunny that day. The highlight of that day was definately my first Hobby of the year which appeared over the scrubland as i sat on the bench overlooking the gravel pits. It quartered the area for a while, allowing me some excellent views, before dropping into some trees not to be seen again. 2 reeling Grasshopper Warblers and a massive amount of Sedge and Reed Warblers also made the day special, as well as seeing a kingfisher fly downriver while watching the hirundines under the railway bridge.

What a great reserve!