Saturday, 30 September 2017

Newark Adventure

I was meant to go to Lincolnshire again today, mainly to look for migrants around the dunes again - with the added draw of the Long-billed Dowitcher that has been present for a few weeks. However I was unable to get out til mid  morning and decided it wasn't worth a 3-4 hour round trip for just an afternoon - especially as the winds werent especially favourable. (Looks like i missed some YBWs and a Barred warbler but not too fussed!)

Instead, I went to have a little look around a few sites around Newark, always productive, and I like to pay the area a visit a few times a year!

I began at Collingham, where vegetation and water levels meant there wasnt much in the way of wader habitat, but I did pick out a couple of Pintail on the pit north of Ferry Lane lake. Speaking to a couple of birders later it seems i missed a Black-tailed Godwit here. Otherwise there wasn't much of note, and i failed to pick anything up along the hedges and farmland around ferry lane.

Mons pool was more productive with up to 200 Wigeon knocking about - but no American compardres. 4 Curlew were sitting, soporific on one of the islands and a couple of late Swallows also flew through.

I had a Collingham Co-op Special lunch (cheese pasty and a packet of crisps) and decided i would visit Langford Lowfields. I don't normally visit here as I find it a bit restrictive, only being able to properly bird in the public areas, but it occasionally comes good. I noted a Ringed Plover on the walk down to the main part of the reserve, and a nasal-saddled female Pochard provided some interest, but i failed to read the code on it, hopefully it will be picked up by someone else on site.

On the main part of the site it was initially a bit quiet, but things picked up when I noted a smart male Stonechat knocking about in one of the reedbeds. Walking up to the viewing mound, a Water Rail popped out of some reeds and skitted about for a bit, a cracking adult male Sprawk bombed through and a Common Sand was bobbing about in the distance. Another group of about 20 Swallows flew through too. Not much else of note though, and I didnt really want to linger, so i soon moved on.

I popped in to Kilvington for a bit on the way home, and as usual there were good numbers of large gulls. Mostly lesser black backs, but an adult Yellow-legged Gull was new for the year for me. Lots of other birds about but the only other notable birds were the 5 Ringed Plover that had been reported the night before.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

American Wigeon

Following a couple of uneventful visits to the patch, where its getting difficult to visit after work these days, I decided to go further afield again at the weekend. One of my field trials at work is in Oakham and I needed to visit it so i coupled it with a visit to Rutland on Saturday morning. I usually pop my head into the North Arm when I'm in the area, and I've picked up some reasonable birds whilst visiting in the past.

This time I decided to have a look in at the Egleton reserve, as an American Wigeon had been knocking around there for a few weeks, and I haven't been for some time. I quickly picked the bird in question up, feeding with a good sized flock of Wigeon in front of the Grebe hide on Lag 2. Also around were a good few Pintail, and a Great White Egret - now a common sight in the area, amongst the other numerous wildlfowl.

I didn't stick around on the reserve for too long, but did have a look at Lagoon 4, as its usually good for waders, but there was only 2 Greenshank and a Ruff, as well as another Great Egret. Another 15 or so Pintail were about too, nice to see in numbers.

Before heading home, I poked my nose in at the North Arm, as a Little Stint had been reported here. Scanning the banks, I only managed a couple of Ruff, 7 Dunlin and 8 Ringed Plover. Just before giving up, I had another look at the Dunlin and suddenly picked up the Stint, running round amongst them, though pretty distant, but always nice to see, and a new bird for me there.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Lincs coast expedition

Each year I tell myself that I'm going to go to the Lincs coast to have a crack at some autumn birding, but never really get round to it. However this year I've been encouraged to do it more, as I now have a companion to spur me on, namely Ian Blackmore-Allen, a friend and a recent returner to the world of birding after a brief hiatus.

On sunday we joined Pete Leonard and Nick Crouch, and I drove us to Gib Point to work the Scrub and Sand Dunes to see if we could pick up any migrants. Winds on the coast haven't exactly been favourable, but a few breaths of north-easterlies overnight gave us some hope.

We pitched up at 7am and worked the west dunes and around the Sykes Farm area til around mid-morning, but it was quickly evident that there hadn't been any sort of influx of birds, with very little moving around, aside from the odd Chiffchaff and small numbers of Goldcrest. Whilst we were watching a group of Swallows I picked up a Pied Flycatcher, sat in elders by the Roadside Pond, where there seemed to be a hive of activity, but it soon disappeared and wasn't picked up by anyone else. After watching a Kingfisher for a time, we decided to relocate to the East dunes, working our way from the field centre, back towards the car. Aside from several Reed Buntings and Mipits by the Obs and 9 Pink-feet flying over (relocated by Tennysons Sands later), there was very little to see, the dunes being very quiet indeed

Tennysons sands held some wader interest, holding around 250 Black-tailed Godwit, as well as c30 Avocet (including a colour ringed bird), several greenshank and a pintail. After this we headed back around Sykes Farm with no joy, and tried unsuccessfully to see some reported Yellow-browed Warblers at Aylmer Avenue.

After some chips at Skeg, we recced Chapel Six Marshes and Wolla Bank, a couple of sites further up the coast. Both were quiet, but Wolla Bank in particular seemed like it had potential and I managed a Wheatear on the beach, as well as a very close-in Guillemot on the sea (about 30m out!). Pete and Nick had a good explore and it was agreed it was certainly a site to consider in the future.

Looking forward to exploring more of this coastline, I'm hoping to get out there again in two weeks time, hopefully with some more easterlies and some more birds!

Sunny birding over the Saltmarsh