Monday, March 17, 2008

Birding diary 16-31 March 2008

29-31 March 2008 A few new birds around WWT to end the month along with some settled weather. The Cattle Egret was intermittent but showed most days. My first Willow Warbler of the year followed at least five others locally. An evening walk along the canal at Frampton and three Sand Martin and a Cetti's Warbler were the best I could muster.
Redwing near Townfield Lake, Frampton on Severn 28 March 2008
and Cattle Egret on the WWT 100 Acre marshes 27 March 2008.
28 March 2008 A short walk out with my daughter and 150 Fieldfare, 50 Redwing and 5 Sand Martin were the most notable birds on offer.
27 March 2008 On my rounds at WWT Slimbridge the day started beautifully, warm, sunny and calm, a group of 5 Sand Martin over the Bottom New Piece may have roosted in the adjacent reedbeds. I heard at least 5 Chiffchaff around the site but despite the favourable conditions never noted any further migration. A Little Egret in the same area was outnumbered by 5 around the 100 Acre, a Cattle Egret was also present which is the second reserve record but I am unsure if it is the Fretherne bird. It looked all white (not Barrymore esque comment and never a fan) but I was looking into bright sunshine as the image shows. It seems likely that it is the same bird. The waders were of interest, a Grey Plover, Little Stint, Ruff and the local Redshank. A group of 5 Black-tailed Godwit were also around the reserve.
24 27 March 2008 I did see the American Green-winged Teal on 24th-26th also but not on 27th, it was still reported as present though and has become rather elusive. A flock of c30 Sand Martin over the 100 Acre reeds on 26th and two male Wheatear along the foreshore was nice.

American Green Winged Teal at the WWT 100 Acre marsh.

23 March 2008 A good day at work at WWT Slimbridge with some migration in action. I did my usual rounds and thought it was going to be quiet, no Chiffchaffs at the South end of the reserve where I began my day. The two Kingfishers were at the South Finger nest hole as I drove past. At Middle Point I could see at least three Wheatear distantly on the foreshore among the high tide roosting gulls. The estuary was quiet, a single male Tufted Duck was notable and 4 Dunlin went south. Yesterday a first-winter Iceland Gull (PJ Taylor) and male Common Scoter (NR Smart) were seen over the tide in the estuary. On the 100 Acre I was counting the Black-tailed Godwits (38 at least but 48 in the area) when I noticed a male American Green-winged Teal with them. I texted the news out and settled to watch it but soon found the Temminck's Stint with c14 Dunlin, 2 Ruff and c20 Redshank. The birds showed all day and during an evening patrol I saw an adult Mediterranean Gull fly in with the Common Gulls (c6000) but very low numbers of large gulls (300) at 1800. The highlight was a flock of c100 adult Kittiwake fly in from downriver and continue North until reaching Hock Cliff, they spiralled high and headed off NE (so I presumed, it was very cold). I stopped watching them at 1745 but did hear Kittiwake calling at 1805 among the thousands of Common Gulls. This may have been the flock seen by P Bowerman off Severn Beach late morning (thanks for the call on these Paul!, normally 20 minutes from the Beach to us but 5.5 hours was rather lethargic)

22 March 2008 No real birding for me but I did got through the gulls during a Hempsted Recycling visit (from public areas). Lots of gulls, nothing notable, a flock of six Greylag Geese headed over North and a few Ravens were around.

21 March 2008 A local walk around Townfield Lake and 40-50 Sand Martin and my first House Martin of the year was notable. A Kingfisher, 200+ Fieldfare and 60 Redwing were also of note.

20 March 2008 I noted the three Spotted Redshank at the WWT 100 Acre and a few other waders but it was nice to have a minimum of 12 Chiffchaff on site.

19 March 2008 I did an evening patrol of the WWT reserve and had a memorable evening of birding. A pale first or possibly second winter Iceland Gull was on the Noose and I was very lucky to witness the departing of two of the local Bitterns. They flew around in circles calling to each other and headed off high, I even saw them fly through a full moon, spectacular! This behaviour is usually associated with departures from the breeding grounds in Autumn and I have never seen this before at WWT.

18 March 2008 A clear and sunny day and migration was in full swing. I noted 120 Lesser Black-backed, 150 Herring Gull and 20 GBB Gull heading north in 45 minutes whilst I was around the north end of the WWT reserve. A flock of 8 Sand Martin came chattering their way in and continued North and the WWT 100 Acre was looking great with 6 Black-tailed Godwit, c80 Golden Plover, 1 Ruff, 3 Spotted Redshank, c10 Redshank (also territorial), 25 Lapwing (many displaying), 8 Dunlin and 20 Snipe, the winter duck were also looking great. I saw at least 6 singing Reed Bunting and more Lapwing displaying at the Bottom New Piece.

17 March 2008 Horrendous weather caused much flooding and I could not raise the energy to try to bird through it!