Sunday, 17 May 2015

Exhausted migrants drop in

If I had known it was overnight fishing at the reservoirs. I might not have worried too much about arriving early. There were more tents on show than at Millets including four on Lockwood nicely spread out to deter all but the most determined of waders. Fortunately, three Little Ring Plovers - two more than yesterday - were dedicated enough to ignore the crowds and feed nervously on the east bank. With anglers at the far end, I did not bother walking round to see if I could record yesterday's two Common Sandpipers but crossed the road in the hope that something interesting had joined the Common Terns which seem to have adopted West Warwick this year as their regular haunt. No luck but with news of raptors passing at Wanstead and points east, I spend a good hour searching the skies/sun-bathing. My return was a Sparrowhawk and a single Buzzard soaring over No 5 until it was seen off by an angry Carrion Crow. Eight Gadwall were on No 3 to go with the two which seem to be resident on Lockwood.

        I was just about to leave when I fortunately bumped into DE who was doing the Webs count and told me that there were six Red-crested Pochard in the SW corner of No 4 which I had not bothered to cover. I hurried round to find five males and one female. They allowed a very close approach so either a) they were exhausted after just flying in from the Kazakh steppes and were not used to people or b) they had made the rather shorter journey from Finsbury Park. Either way, they took to 94 my year list for the reservoirs which means I have already beaten my previous record of 1985 despite being absent birding abroad during the reservoirs' purple patch recently. Looking at the list from 30 years ago which included Woodlark, Green-winged Teal and Red-necked Grebe, I suspect the achievement is largely down to better information about what is where and when than more birds. So thanks to everyone who has shared info...

Tired migrants adjusting to their new home

More long-distance migrants allowing a close approach

DB @porthkillier