Sunday, 22 March 2015

Wheatear Draws the Crowds

      An excellent day with the first Wheatear of the year for the patch and a new and unexpected species for my reservoir list. The day started in a rather familiar fashion when I joined Peter L on Lockwood to find him looking at Scaup. They were, amazingly, different birds than yesterday: a female with a lighter head and another which had a strange eclipse style plumage which led to some thought it might have a a bit of mixed breed in it. But after discussion during the day and a good look at the bill and shape, it was thought to be an old adult female. We also saw the usual drake and female on our walk round, along with five Goldeneye. This takes to a remarkable six the different Scaup we have had on the reservoirs this winter. Even more remarkably - and rather worryingly - every one of them has been found by Pete.

#5 Presumed adult female


#6 Presumed immature female

      But the day got even a lot better when, at the top end, we had in quick succession a Woodcock flying  slowly east - presumably flushed off Tottenham Marsh and the first I have seen at the reservoirs - and a spanking male Wheatear. At one point, the Wheatear flew up and landed on the top pylon wires which looked liked that would be the last we would see of it before dropping down again on the reservoir bank. It eventually relocated to the east side where it showed well for the rest of the day.

                                       
           
Pete went off to do his usual round of the southern reservoirs and I waited on Lockwood for GH and the Prof to join me before being tempted into another circuit of Lockwood. When we got to the top, we found that the 2 Green Sandpipers had dropped onto the normal roosting spot on the over-flow channel ramp. 


We also had a female Pheasant and a Reed Bunting on the west bank. By now, we had been joined by SF, JP, AW and others so that at one time there were no less than nine birders on Lockwood. As the sun came out briefly and it warmed up, we looked skywards with the Prof spotting two Sparrowhawks and then a very high Buzzard gliding north east while six Sand Martins - the first of the day - fed over High Maynard. Makes up for all those hours of not seeing much.

       DB @porthkillier and a cast of thousands....

(Scaup & Green Sandpiper photos PW @birdingprof)

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