Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Birding diary/sightings 1-13 April 2008

13 April 2008 Back at WWT and a few migrants were around, I had my first two Reed Warbler of the year and nine Golden Plover some in full breeding plumage was of note as were single Ringed Plover and good numbers of commoner warblers.

Griffon Vultures, Monfrague National Park, Extremedura MJM

8-12 April 2008 A trip to Extremedura was productive despite the cold, wet weather and strong winds. A Light-bellied Brent Goose was a good find and in keeping with the conditions. Seeing it alongside Collared Pratincole and being continually flushed by Black Kite was less typical and the record must be highly notable as this is a landlocked province. Images are now on the trip report section but I will add report later.

Light-bellied Brent Goose, Embalse de Guadiloba, Caceres, Extremedura MJM.

latest news (less than 24 hrs after I e-mailed) from SEO Caceres Grupo Local.....

Hi Martin,

Is a very very interesting observation. The next day, 11th April, a local birder has seen a Branta bernicla in Casatejada (NE Caceres), probably the same bird. It was his first time with this species and he doesn't know something about subspecies. Please send to me photos, they send to him to confirm whether it was the same individual.

Light Bellied Brent is rarity in Spain. In 1984-2003, had only 10 records, all on the coast. This is the first observation in Extremadura and also the first in the interior of Spain. In Portugal coast there is another record.

If possible, it would be important to send a description and photos to Spanish committee of rarities. I attach a form to fill. Please send it to A greetings and congratulations on the observation


What a good find for the group!

Brown Hare WWT Slimbridge

7 April 2008 At WWT we did a landrover safari 0800-1030 with the target being close views of Brown Hare, this was very succesful and four animals showed very well. Also noted were the two Wheatear and in the 100 Acre, 5 Little Stint, the Temminck's Stint, 3 Spotted Redshank, a Ruff etc. Perhaps 200 Sand Martin were around today with 25 Swallow. I did see the Cattle Egret also which was chased by gulls and ended up ina tree at the South Splatt reedbed. The highlight was seeing and hearing the first brood of Coot of the year near the viewing platform.

Cattle Egret in the WWT 100 Acre marshes, 6 April 2008 MJM
and on 3rd April 2008, a habit of standing on posts...
The brightest male Northern Wheatear on the reserve yet MJM

6 April 2008 A very cold wind and a flurry of snow and migrants made for an unusual spring day. Two male Wheatear, c 20 Swallow, a House Martin, c110 Sand Martin, plenty of Willow Warblers and Chiffchaff were all showing around the WWT reserve today. See the WWT website for full details. Other highlights for me were a couple of Ruff and single Black-tailed Godwit in the 100 Acre and the Cattle Egret of course.

5 April 2008 DIY but a Green Woodpecker and Grey Heron at home was OK.

4 April 2008 I was out at 0530-0730 on the estuary and Frampton Townfield Lake but the thick mist provented any watching so I listened. Highlight c30 calling Toads in the WWT 100 Acre. After some work on the house I went up onto Cleeve Hill for the afternoon with Bob Radford and bumped into Dave Pearce. We managed to locate two male and a female Ring Ouzel and three Wheatear as well as many other species typically found in this habitat. It was nice to chat to Dave about Ouzels and birding Cleeve as he is one of the Cotswolds most active and productive birders and inspired us to hang on a little longer for our reward.

3 April 2008 A stunning day, the warmest so far this year. I spent the day building a new bridge in the Canoe safari trail and was entertained by 3 Willow Warbler, singing Blackcap and 4 Chiffchaff. On the morning rounds I did not see much in the way of new birds, the 2 Spotted Redshank are turning black (JSL had a Common Tern upriver) but a flock of 27 mostly breeding plumaged Golden Plover and single Black-tailed Godwit showed that it was still happening. A flock of 22 of the latter were on South Lake and I noted 20 at Saul Warth along with my first belated Garganey of the year (2 males, 1 female) at dusk. I did see the Cattle Egret again but it was not present at lunchtime 1300-1400. The Green-winged Teal was reported again. A flock of 6 Buzzard were thermalling over the estuary with four more around the reserve. A Ruff remains on the 100 Acre and six Little Egret were present here with one at the Bottom New Piece.

2 April 2008 The Green-winged Teal and Cattle Egret were on show at the WWT 100 Acre but the pick of the day would have been the Sandwich Tern that was about the estuary early morning.

Green-winged Teal and Eurasian Teal WWT 100 Acre marsh MJM

1 April 2008 My first Swallows of the year (one in the 100 Acre and another on territory around the Top Hut at WWT) and migrant Blackcaps (two males in full song at the South Finger). At least 20 singing Chiffchaff were on site also. On my rounds 0800-1020 the Cattle Egret, 4 Little Egrets and Green Winged Teal were both in the WWT 100 Acre marsh as was a Ruff. An adult and immature Peregrine were on the sands. The egrets were busy eating toads!

Cattle Egret WWT 100 Acre marsh 31 March 2008 MJM