Sunday, 29 April 2012

Water water everywhere (and some good birds)

Stayed local over the weekend as my parents were visiting. Was hoping to explore several quieter areas within the valley but due to the poor weather this wasn't able to happen so we made several trips to North Duffield to sit in the hide and also visited Castle Howard.

Saturday morning I was in the hide at North Duffield at 5am hoping for something interesting. I wasn't disappointed, it was amazing! In the space of 2 hours I'd had 60 species all from my seat in the hide! There was many highlights including 2 (possibly 4) Avocet that flew north through the valley (a site/area tick for me), drake Garganey, 13 Whimbrel, 20 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Greenshank and 6 Dunlin flew through, plus my first singing Cuckoo of the year and a pair of Grey Partridge. Pretty impressive dawn chorus activity too.

The calm before the storm 

The calm before the storm

The local dog walked was interesting as I had a new site tick in the form of a single Whimbrel in a sheep field and then 2 singing male Lesser Whitethroats (along with male Blackcap, Common Whitethroat and Willow Warbler) that showed really well.

Castle Howard was freezing cold, blowing a gale with heavy showers, therefore many of the birds were keeping sheltered and hidden.  A couple of Blackcap showed well, as did a number of House Martin, Sand Martin and a couple of Swift.

This morning it was fairly difficult as it was raining with the wind blowing it straight into the hide.  The water was pouring off the river and it's surely only a matter of time before the river bursts its bank properly. Highlights this morning were fewer, however a Mediterranean Gull (site tick for me) made it worth dragging myself out of bed! There was fewer Whimbrel, about 6 or so with 4 Greenshank now present, up from 2 on Friday night, and 3 on Saturday.

3 Greenshank (phone-scoped)

This evening I popped down briefly and had approximately 20 Whimbrel, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Short-eared Owl, 2 Greenshank, 5 Redshank, 3 Oystercatcher and all the usual suspects. A brief flight of a potential Little Gull was a little frustrating as it dropped down below the river bank and wasn't seen again!

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