In a couple of weeks time I will be cycling from Gretna Green back to my home village, Llangynhafal over 3 days. I wil be raising money for the RSPB and am looking for sponsors! if you would like to sponsor me please visit my webpage below. There are about 30 of us cycling for a variety of causes and it is about 300 miles!! eek!
Wish me luck!
Today I was reminded of why I enjoy my job! I got to count birds all day all across the whole reserve in the sun :-) We had a couple of Garganey and a wigeon on the far pool along with shoveller and pintail and 1500 teal (2500 were counted last week with 2620 equalling 1% of the UK population!). On our way out to the marsh we had excellent views of 6 curlew sandpipers, dunlin, spotted redshank, greenshank and redshank on the Decca pools. While out on the flooded marsh with water up to our waists we saw the marsh harrier, peregrine and a low flying plane (!) flush curlew, egrets and 1000's of black headed-gulls. 20 bar tailed godwits flew right over our heads! We didnt get to the end of the marsh although it felt like it swamping through deep water the entire way! 80 cormorants were at the waters edge. The highlight on the way back was 5 black terns within 20m of us behind the Decca compound. Such delicate birds! To finish the day in a nice day Geoff came and gave us a lift back to base!
The only downer of the whole day was to see one of old fence posts floatig off down the Denhall gutter! Last Tuesday an enthusiastic group of volunteers helped Geoff and I remove all the old fencing in the Decca compound with the exception of a few tall posts that we left for the birds to roost on. However we are unable to take away the posts and fence yet as one of the bridges needs replacing before a vehcile can cross the marsh. So our taken down posts were left in neat piles only to be scatterred by the tides!
You may have noticed that the compounds are full of water and not sheep! A hasty removel was made Friday morning and they are now safe over on the MOD ranges. Our tenant has a new shepherd in place - Dominic from down south. He is very tall giving him an advantage when spotting sheep on the marsh! He is keen to both increase the quality and quantity of the flock.
Im off home to ride my bike now!
"Wow" is a word often overused but in this case I feel that it is justified as IMF continues its hot-streak of rare birds.
A marsh tern provided some brief views and blurry photos but after careful deliberation on Thursday evening it eventually became apparant that we were dealing with a juvenile whiskered tern! The bird has been seen each day since, giving an extremely good account of itself both flying and perching in front of the hide. This individual provided a chance to directly compare it with the similar looking black terns that have also been present.
On the way down to the hide on Sunday night a number of birders were massed around a point in the path with their optical equipment aimed at a dry-stone wall. Now I can appreciate the intricasies of the ancient craft of building a wall with no mortar but why would anyone need to examine it so closely? Well it turns out that these guys were getting excellent views of a quail that had earlier flown form the visitor path into an adjacent field. This bird was seen this very morning. However, we ask that everybody sticks to the current path network and hope that the bird shows itself without being unceremoniously flushed. Thank You.
Signs that winter is on its way are all too obvious as leaves fall from the trees birds such as wigeon, pintail and golden plover have already arrived.
Other birds recently seen include ... ruff ... snipe ... spotted redshank ... black-tailed godwit ... lapwing ... shoveler ... hobby ... marsh harrier ... buzzard ... little egret ... sand martin ... house martin ... swallow
... to the cows!
On Monday the cows will be leaving to return to their winter grazing and we need many hands to herd them in to the trailers. If you would like to help let us know! We will be starting mid morning ish!
See you soon! Rhian
Sunday saw the return of the famous Raptor Watch at Parkgate and those who stayed until after sunset weren't disappointed.
At least two ringtail hen harriers were seen to go into the roost whilst nearby two little owls could be seen. Above a kestrel or two dueled with crows and a buzzard soared majestically. At least 7 greenshank were present earlier on the flash and little egrets were occasionally seen flitting up and down but it was a merlin that stole the show ...
A magnificent merlin twisted then turned, In persistant pursuit of an unknown,
The potential prey sought sanctuary, the speedy spectacle soon left our sight,
With our rousing raptor poignantly perched, the result was positive for the plagued passerine,
The break was brief and on moved the merlin.
A cursory corvid gave our villain a volley but soon both were lost to the hazey horizon.
See you there on October 31st