Friday 10 July 2015

Quail: Orwell, Cambridgeshire

The plan was to head to Hertfordshire and try to pick up any calling Quail at Pirton early morning before heading off to catch a sighting of the montagu's near Baldock. Just one small problem with that, the Montagu's decides to disappear the day before!

So having heard that Quail were calling and occasionally giving views at Orwell, we decided to change plans and head to Cambridgeshire.
It's only 50 miles from home and we were parking the car in Meadowcroft Way, Orwell around 6am. Taking the footpath across a small bridge we headed off along the grass path towards the second bridge listening for any calling Quail as we went.
We arrived on site at around 6am but had no sight or sound of any Quail for the first 30-40 minutes. Plenty of Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting and Linnets were present with smaller numbers of Corn Bunting and Whitethroats.
Having walked passed the bridge to the junction of the grass path I heard the first singing Quail of the morning. Soon a second bird began to sing and a third! Scanning the field we found a single Quail out in the open along the edge, it started singing and gave great views until a second bird came flying in. They both jumped up in the air briefly and then disappeared into thicker cover.
Shortly after 8am Dave Aitken arrived hoping to see his first Quail in Britain. After about an hour wait, he did just that! 
A bird we had heard calling from one field had started calling from the adjacent field across the ditch. Hoping it might appear in the dirt channel that edges the fields we started scanning the area. Sure enough there it was on the edge standing right up singing. Fantastic views of a normally secretive bird. 
Good to see Dave again, having not seen him since the Wilson's Phalarope on the Isle of Wight back in June of 2013. 
The birds remained out of camera range so no photo's of Quail.

Grabbed this shot of a female Banded Demoiselle along the ditch while waiting for the Quail's to start singing.