This morning, during the bird count, a Chiffchaff was found on the river by the railway bridge and another along the Ouse Dyke. Four Egyptian Geese were also seen, flying over the site, as well as two Lesser Redpoll and there were thirteen Goldeneye on the Large Gravel Pit. PS.
Early this afternoon there were two Garganey, six Snipe, four Ruff and three Green Sandpipers on the Slurry Lagoon. RW.
As I walked towards the river by the railway bridge I heard a deep croak so looked all around to see if I could see a Raven. There were about 250 Carrion Crows on the field across the river but no sign of a Raven. Then I heard another rattling croak and two Ravens flew from behind me, over the signal box and out over the river. One was in pursuit of the other and both held their bills open with their exertions. They flew right overhead giving good views of their tails and towards the pylon, where they started to gain height. Some of the Carrion Crows took exception and joined in the chase, calling loudly and there was a melee of black wings as they dashed at each other. Soon the two Ravens broke away, still intent on their own dispute, and then they locked feet and cartwheeled towards the ground. At the last moment they disengaged and landed on the ground, taking off again immediately before flying back across the river, over my head again and back the way they came, towards Colwick. PS.
There were a large number of Swifts feeding over the site this morning, with smaller numbers of hirundines. By the railway bridge a Hobby appeared and stooped towards the Large Gravel Pit. A Cuckoo was calling and an Oystercatcher was on the Wader Scrape. PS.
After a bright sunny morning the weather clouded over and the first raindrops were felt just as three intrepid birders arrived to start the walk. By the footbridge there were Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and a Lesser Whitethroat, so at least the warblers were not put off by the weather.
The rain came and went in short, light showers, so the weather was not too uncomfortable, as we made our way around the south western side of the Slurry Lagoon. There were lots of birds singing, making it sometimes difficult to point out a particular species, with Dunnocks, Wrens, Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and Robins joining the singing throng. A Willow Warbler perched up nicely so that everyone could see it as it sang its sweet cadence of descending notes. More Blackcaps were singing but they were much harder to see, and another Lesser Whitethroat was rattling out its song from deep in the hawthorns. Whitethroats were heard but they were giving their ‘churring’ contact notes and the only singing bird was rather distant, so we moved on towards the Causeway, where I hoped to find Reed and Sedge Warbler.
When we arrived by the reed bed there was such a hubbub of song that again individuals were hard to pick out. Then a Sedge Warbler started to perform and its staccato notes gave us no doubt of the performer’s identity. The Reed Warblers sang much more rhythmically with a more even range of notes. None of the birds were showing as they remained deep in the dried stems of last years reeds. A Whitethroat sang briefly from the Deep Pit but gave very poor views, and the Cetti’s Warbler song exploded from the bushes at the foot of the bank several times as it made its patrol.
All of this was soon forgotten as rain brought Swifts and House Martins low and their close passes above our heads completely stole the show. They seemed to go through in waves as first there were Swifts rocketing over the Causeway at head height, and then the House Martins could be heard giving their conversational ‘prrit’ calls as thirty or so were feeding higher up. Next some Swallows came though and then it was House Martins again. During this time the Swifts kept coming though, sometimes passing between peoples’ heads and Common Terns flew between the Deep Pit and Slurry Lagoon several times, calling excitedly as they pursued one that was carrying a fish. The Swifts were so impressive that it took us a long time before we could drag ourselves away.
We walked around the Deep Pit and back along its eastern side towards the river. On the bank by the river there were two Sedge Warblers singing loudly and a good view was grabbed of a male Whitethroat. On the fence we noticed some Swallows having a rest, so we paused until they decided to continue their journey, which was not very long. We tried to identify the males from the females. Some Sand Martins were feeding in the Deep Pit and we heard their rasping ‘trrrsh’ calls as some flew over towards the river. We carried on back towards the Causeway, hearing Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps singing along the railway embankment. Back on the Causeway we struck lucky as a Garden Warbler bubbled through its repertoire as it sat on an exposed perch and everybody got good views of it. The Swifts were still performing well, so we dawdled along the Causeway, hearing the Cetti’s Warbler again. It now began to rain more seriously and so we made our way off the site. We had missed one of the warblers, so we only scored nine. The Grasshopper Warbler has only been heard once or twice, very briefly, and is possibly not even on site this year.
There was a good arrival of migrants over the last two days with warbler numbers shooting up. The reed beds hold several Reed and Sedge Warblers and several Lesser Whitethroats and Garden Warblers have arrived. Swallows, House Martins and Swifts have been passing through in good numbers all day. In the morning a Curlew flew over the site and a Little Egret made an appearance. In the late afternoon a Marsh Harrier flew in and possibly stayed to roost in the Slurry Lagoon reed bed. RW.
Although beautifully sunny there was still a cold north wind blowing so not much migration was noted. A Swallow investigated the nest sites under the railway bridge, so it might be the first one of our birds back. Several Sand Martins flew through and there was a northward passage of Skylarks. Six Common Terns were on the Deep Pit and two Sedge Warblers were singing. On the dry end of the Slurry Lagoon were a very smart pair of Wheatears. PS.
This morning was cool and over cast and not very promising for migrant spotting. Towards mid-morning the clouds started to break up and the sun nearly shone. Over the Deep Pit eight Common Terns squabbled and chased before two pairs settled on the breeding platforms. A Sedge Warbler was singing in the Deep Pit, along the Causeway. Most other migrants flew through, including four Swallows, two Sand Martins, a House Martin, three Yellow Wagtails and a Lesser Redpoll. PS.
This egg was found on the Causeway, it had been predated by a Magpie. It is about 25cm long. Can anybody identify it ?
This morning was bright and sunny after yesterday’s rain, but the wind was very chilly. There were Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and Willow Warblers singing. By the river and in the Slurry Lagoon reed bed there were two Sedge Warblers singing. There were two Oystercatchers along the river and over the Deep Pit and one or two Sand Martins put in an appearance. A Buzzard gave good views as it flew low over the site, landing twice in the ash trees along the railway embankment. PS.
In the afternoon a male Orange-tip was flying along the Ouse Dyke. JMD.
This morning, on the monthly bird count, there were several new birds in, including five Willow Warblers, four Sand Martins, a Swallow and a Wheatear. More Chiffchaffs had arrived and also more Blackcaps. Three Buzzards and two Shelduck were also seen. PS.