Saturday, 18 April 2015

The birding week

The week started with a trip to The RSPB headquarters in Sandy Bedfordshire. Arriving early we headed for the sandy ridge trail in search of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. As we headed through the metal gate we were greeted by a flock of Brambling busily feeding among the beech trees.
Further along the trail and woodpeckers are very much in evidence with Great Spotted Woodpeckers calling and drumming from all directions and Green heard calling and seen feeding among the short grass.
Soon a Lesser Spotted is heard drumming in the distance, While heading in the direction of the drumming it continues to drum. Tucking ourselves away against a tree trunk we catch a glimpse of the bird as it flies across the path and lands on a tree not far from us. Unfortunately as soon as it lands a Great Spotted Woodpecker sees it off just as quickly.
A tip off from a birder sees us head off to Gypsy Lane and Broom GP's. A quick scan and several Little Ringed Plovers are located along with a couple of Ringed Plover. A Yellow Wagtail drops in with a White wagtail spotted close by. 
A scan of the Eastern end of the pits secures another two year tick when Common Terns are seen along with several Swallows flying through.

A White-spotted Bluethroat at Amwell present the previous evening saw us head there at first light. There were no expectations that the bird would have stuck overnight, and heading across the bridge the signs were not good. Consolation came in the form of two Black-necked Grebes and our first Sedge Warblers of the year.

News came through that two Black-winged Stilts were present at Bowers Marsh.
Arriving mid morning, to find no improvement to the entrance track from last year. Huge pot holes littered the track leading to the car park. 
The walk out along the path was shared with Corn Bunting and Skylark. Reaching the viewing area at the far end we found the Black-winged Stilts feeding along the far edge. The sun made viewing difficult, but the birds made it much easier when they flew across and landed closer allowing some great scope views.
It was good to see Marco already on site when we arrived, and while catching up from our last meeting a Black-necked Grebe and two Greenshank were noted. 100+ Avocet were seen along with several Redshank and a single Dunlin dropped in.

A quick trip to Lee Valley today and a Nightingale had been heard before leaving the car park. Several birds were heard in full song during the visit. With a brief sighting of a single bird a real bonus.
A female Bullfinch was another nice sighting and a Grey Heron was motionless at the waters edge.

Moving onto the Bittern Hide I found this sculpture in the picnic area.

Scanning Seventy Acres Lake for any new arrivals was disappointing, with no terns or Hobbies back yet. A couple of Reed Warblers were the only other addition to the year list. 

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