Thursday, 14 September 2017

No waders, and no seabirds

Over the last week or so I've been checking Mons Pool in the hope of a decent wader - a Pec would've been nice! Or even a just a Ruff... However, Hagg Lane Flash has evidently been intercepting all of them, and I had to make do with up to 2 juv islandica Black-wits, and up to 4 Dunlin... and that's been about it. Aside from waders, a juv or female Garganey was on Wharf Pit on the 10th with the Teal, and there has been a distinctly autumnal feel, with the first Meadow Pipits of the season, a small arrival of Wigeon (ok, just 6, but its a start), some big groups of House Martins - and still the odd Swift

Yesterday I checked Kilvington Lakes on the way home from work, in the vain hope of a windblown seabird. The best I could managed, however, were 6 Ringed Plover, 2 Greenshank, 2 Swifts and at least 3 YLGs. There was also what looked like an adult Caspian Gull amongst the LBBGs, but it was on the far side of the lake and into the sun. 

Monday, 4 September 2017

Catching up

Spotted Flycatcher is not a guaranteed species each year on the patch, although thus far during the PWC era I have managed to see one (or sometimes more) annually. I was beginning to worry this year, and to look enviously at nearby patches in Lincs which have recorded them recently. 

I'd been checking the usual spots at Collingham, especially the big ashes along Northcroft Lane, without luck. However, on Sunday I met John Ellis at the new hide on the north side of Mons Pool, and having had a good chat, was just about to leave when I noted something flick up onto the fence by the hide on the opposite side of the reserve - bingo, a Spotted Fly. I wandered round to get a photo just in time, as two horse riders came past, the bird flew, and I couldn't relocate it.

Spotted Flycatcher

One day I'll upgrade to a patch Pied Fly. 

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Back to reality

After 2 and a half weeks in South Africa (of which more to follow...), it has been back to reality, birding the patch. Mark Dawson found a Wood Sand on my first day back (Friday), on the partially dewatered Wharf Pit, which remained until Sunday at least. This pit looks great, although water levels have been creeping back up, and has also held a Black-wit, up to 3 Greenshank (new for PWC 2017), up to 9 Green Sands, 2 Common Sands, single juv Ringed Plover and LRP, up to 7 Snipe, and up to 20 Little Egrets. We'll see what the coming days and weeks bring - a Pec Sand would be nice. 

Wood Sand with a Greenshank
Wharf Pit

Mons Pool, by contrast, has been disappointing, as all the water that has come out of Wharf Pit has gone there. The Garganey lingers, although it has always been hiding when I've looked for it. And that's about it, apart from 3 Curlew, contributing to patch wader diversity. 

I also had a look at Cotham Landfill on Friday, and realised I'd forgotten what I was doing with gulls. As well as quite a few ringed LBBGs (which I'm in the process of tracking the origins of), there was were looked like a juvenile Caspian, and an adult (or near adult), although both potentially had issues which I need to look into more closely when I have time. Pics below. 

Thursday, 3 August 2017

More Yellow-legs

On Tuesday night I called into Kilvington Lakes on the way home. There were a small number of large gulls present, mainly LBBGs but also 3 adult or near adult Yellow-legs, and at least 2 juvs, including the one photo'd below with a juv LBBG

Monday, 31 July 2017

Juvenile YLG

After an uneventful patch visit on Sunday (the drake Scaup was still on Ferry Lane Lake, but there was little else of note), I headed back for another session at Cotham Landfill. There were fewer gulls present than the day before, and rather than trying to count Yellow-legs, I spent some time actually looking at them properly. 

Best was a nice, and reasonably close, juvenile Yellow-leg. Everything appeared to be there, the icing on the cake being several replaced scapulars with dark anchor-shaped markings - this early in the year a very pro-juv YLG feature! Other features included dark tertials with neat, narrow fringes (only extending halfway along the feather edge); white rump and tail with a neat black terminal band; near-absent pale window on the inner primaries; long-winged appearance; and a dusky mask around the eye on a pale(ish) head. The bill could perhaps have been heavier though. It was also quite large and aggressive...

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Red and Yellow

Back to last week, and the Garganey at Mons Pool lingered until Sunday 23rd, when volunteering at East Leake allowed views of three of the Bee-eaters without having to leave the carpark, and my WeBS count at Girton yielded a Redstart - very nice, although it would have been better at Collingham!

Juv Redstart

This week, and the highlight until today had been a party of 11 Black-wits on the 26th (with 19 the day before, according to the Notts Birders sighting page), along with a drake Scaup on Ferry Lane Lake which John Ellis had found at the weekend. 

Drake Scaup

However, today produced my second Redstart in as many weeks, this time obligingly on patch, in the hedgerow along the western footpath at Mons Pool. Not a guaranteed species annually on the patch by any means. 

Female Redstart

I then decided to have a look at Cotham Landfill, which I'd been meaning to do since I cycled past a couple of weeks ago, spurred on by a monster count of 37+ Yellow-legged Gulls just to the south at Kilvington Lakes yesterday (along with 4 Casps). Several hundred Lesser Black-backs were present (, along with at least 25 Yellow-legs - nearly all adults or near-adults, plus a second summer and a juvenile, as well as a couple of Herring Gulls (including 2 juvs) and one GBBG

An adult YLG
Another adult YLG
Check out the bill - a brute!

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Mid Summer birding

The best things about mid Summer birding is the big screaming flocks of Swifts over Newark. They're always difficult to count, but the biggest count visible from my garden has been 55, in two groups. Love 'em!

Aside from another stint on car park duty at the Bee-eaters, my only other birding has been a few patch visits. There have been a few waders, most notably 5 Black-wits on 15th (with singles on 9th and another tonight), the first few Common Sands (2 on 14th and 2 tonight), several Green Sands, a high count of c.10 Oystercatchers (on 14th), and a juv LRP (not bred here). At least 220 Coot were across Ferry Lane Lake and Mons Pool on 14th.

On the breeding bird front, one of the two pairs of Great Crested Grebes on Mons Pool has managed to hatch a chick on the third time of trying (having been flooded out twice), whilst the second pair abandoned there nest for some reason (they were on their second try). The three remaining Kestrel chicks have fledged, and there are two Tufted Duck families around too (with a total of 10 ducklings). 

Wildfowl have also provided a little interest of late, with an eclipse drake Pintail last night bettered by a Garganey tonight, which appeared to be a juvenile rather than a female. Also present tonight was a brief juvenile Yellow-legged Gull which flew off shortly after I scanned onto it (amongst a group of LBBGs and BHGs, plus a single Common Gull).