Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Nightingales and Dotterels

Colin Came over on Sunday morning and we made a day of it in East Anglia. Not much happening on the coast, but we felt that we would be reasonably placed if anything turned up by starting off at Little Paxton and seeing how the day progressed.
Unlike the last couple of years Paxton was dry and fairly mild. We heard a Lesser Whitethroat near the car park and not long after reaching the east side of heron Lake our first Nightingale. There were a lot of terns on the lake, and initially I thought that they were all Common, but careful scrutiny suggested that at least two were Arctic, which was later confirmed when we got closer views from the Kingfisher Hide. We also heard a Turtle Dove, which seemed to be somewhere near the Cormorant colony.
Two Nightingales showed very well both singing high up in the trees, and one was only a few feet from a Garden Warbler making an interesting contrast.

We did not do a complete circuit of the lake as it was unlikely that we would add anything to the day.
The next stop was at Blackbush not far from Flag Fen. Three Dotterel had been in the ploughed fields on Saturday and showed well. Tony Hukin was just leaving and filled us in-the Dotterel were still there but rather distant, along with some Golden Plovers. He was right, even digiscoping at maximum magnification produced poor images.

One Greenland Wheatear was in the field, and the surrounding farm tracks had some Yellow Wagtails.
A Ring Necked Duck had been present on the Nene Washes east of Eldernell so we decided to have a look. Unfortunately it had not been seen all day. However there were still a number of Wigeon Pintail and Teal present, plus a small flock of Black Tailed Godwits. One Whimbrel was feeding along the counter drain. I was rather gutted to hear that two Cranes had flown over Amwell and landed briefly at Rye Meads-finding the pair on the far bank of the washes shortly after was scant consolation.
With nothing still happening on the coast we headed into the brecks calling in at Weeting for half an hour. Two Stone Curlews showed very well, being very easy to locate.

Our last destination was Lyndford Arboretum. We arrived around ten minutes late as the Two Barred Crossbill had been drinking in the walled garden. It never showed while we were there, but  on two occasions single Crossbills were seen on top of the trees, and later a flock of ten flew over-the Two Barred was probably with them but they were too quick for me.
I did search for Firecrests but failed to locate any but the Bluebells were enjoyable.

Called in at Wallington on the way home. A male Hen Harrier had been seen in the morning-on Saturday it had been reported as a Montagues. No sign from the viewpoint I had chosen, and seeing other regular birders in the area and no reports all afternoon it had clearly left the area,.

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