Xerox seems to be the place at the moment with our lovely black headed gull colony drawing in some of the best birds. Mid week saw a superb black tern in full summer plumage and up to four little gulls plus the Mediterranean gull who seems to be enjoying the company. Nothing cheers up a Warden in the evening quite like a black tern - despite the poor attempt at photographing it through the scope! What a fantastic little bird they are though.
Our bitterns too are showing superbly at the moment with hardly a day going by without three or four sightings. My mate DM rang me the other day to say he was watching a bittern feeding in the pond next to his house eating frogs. He does that every year, just to rile me up I reckon, and he did! Marsh harriers and avocets are now settling down to nest but are still very visible all day.
Migrants seem to be top of the bill at the moment with plenty of warblers in now and a definite influx of whitethroats this morning. That prince of raptors the hobby is back too but still regular sightings of hen harrier, short eared owl and merlin just showing how late the year is!
Wader passage has been distinctly poor this week, probably due to the effects of the NE wind but there was a nice summer plumage ruff this morning and a fly over whimbrel. I reckon as soon as the wind goes SE in a couple of days the flood gates will open. It will be nice too to sit in the hides without an arctic blast round your Gregory Peck.
Yesterday was on the most part a lovely sunny day and what a difference it made! Migrants decided to sing and show for once with lesser whitethroat, whitethroat and Hobby all recorded, rather later than usual due to the continued proverbial northerly winds - when will they ever stop! Two little gulls, hen harrier, buzzard and a possible merlin added to the avocets, marsh harriers and bitterns that are currently showing quite well. A few more grasshopper and reed warblers too so keep an ear out while listening to the throng of sedge warblers. A few more arctic and a common tern have moved through recently so keep an eye on the river for anything a bit different.
A surprise this morning while checking the water levels in the reedbed was a late jack snipe. But more visible has been the black tailed godwits and occassional spotted redshank. Up to 10 swifts have been eeking out the few insects they can find over the ponds, poor old things.
A immature mediterranean gull has been present occasionally causing some confusion with visitors. Here's a field picture to help, the meds the one on the left.