Saturday, 28 April 2012

Saturday 28th April 2012 - Early Morning

Northern Wheatear this morning...

Down to the Farm at first light on 'Wader Watch' as conditions today were predicted to be favourable. No immediate signs of any new arrivals around the waters edge but it was clear yesterdays Northern Wheatear bonanza continues with a handful of birds up on the slope as dawn broke, later a handful were found in the same area as yesterday along the North Bank, see pics, all taken this morning.

Heading down to take the riverside walk a Cuckoo could be heard just over the border in the Northants section around the Broadwater area.

The Ouse is in full flow and only a couple of inches off bursting its banks in place but the odd Tern still tried its luck to fish, unsuccessfully. There were a steady stream of 'Commic' Terns all morning (or the same half dozen birds doing circuits). None identified one way or the other bar the two resident Common Terns in their usual spot on the spit.

As the light became brighter, well a lighter shade of dull, a pair of Dunlin were seen along the South Shore being seen off by one or two Little Ringed Plovers for their troubles.

As well as the Wheatears already mentioned the usual suspects could be found, albeit in smaller numbers than usual as it was early, in the wagtail flock, both Yellow Wagtail and White Wagtail ticked.

On returning to the hill, a small influx of waders was noted with two Common Redshank and three Common Sandpipers. The Oystercatcher pair were joined for a while by a third bird till it sloped off and and contemplated life on its its own on the new workings. Little Egrets arrived and left all morning with a max of four seen together at one time, total number probably twice that.

Three Greylag Geese, not a common bird at the site, joined the twenty or so Canada Geese on the main body of water around which at least four pairs are nesting. Other wildfowl, both Tufted Duck and Gadwall pairs were observed away from the main body for the first time around the pools and puddles of Top Field. Swallows were in abundance, especially along the canal section, whilst good numbers of House and Sandmartin were seen too, no Swifts today though.

And finally not long before leaving a largish wader was seen in silhouette heading east, if I had to take a stab at ID I'd go for Black Tail Godwit but nowhere near sure.

As for the site itself well as mentioned the Ouse is at bursting point and given the forecast I would expect to see some flooding along the valley in the next 36 hours, sadly the level of water has flooded at least one Kingfisher nest, probably more, but thats nature. Back Brook is in full flow along its full length for the first time in over a year whilst the entry to Front Brook has almost inundated the bridge. The big question is of course with most of the site lower than the river (though held back) what effect this will have in the short term and over the summer with wader habitat. Time will tell...

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