Sunday, 23 April 2017

Patchwork Challenge Trip 10 (23rd April) 65 Birds

Eagle-eyed readers will notice that there are two missing entries. That's because I had very little to report other than a small group of Rooks and a Lesser Black-Backed Gull, which I initially mistook for a Yellow-Legged Gull.

Work has also been a nightmare lately, so I've had precious little time to get down the patch. During my absences Martin has picked up a cracking number of birds, including Shelduck, Egyptian Goose and Willow Warbler and is currently on 83 for the year, which is a great number for the site.

A pretty dull view of the island with nothing of note there.
I actually caught up with Martin this morning, just as I was arriving at 8.30. He informed me that there were Common Sandpipers and a summer-plumaged Dunlin about so after about 10 minutes I went off to look for them.

Before I even reached the island a lone Common Sandpiper flew past me. Upon reaching the island I saw no sign of the Egyptian Geese but I did see a number of Mediterranean Gulls, Tufted Ducks and Canada Geese. There were no other small waders to be seen though.

A Dunlin in summer plumage, the first I've seen at Longham.
After making me way past a group of annoying midges, I managed to get a better spot of the middle part of the island, no small task when hand-holding my 600mm lens. After about five minutes another Common Sandpiper appeared and then I found the lovely Dunlin hiding in the undergrowth. As I was taking photos screaming Swifts caught my atttention and I looked skywards to find five of them wheeling through the sky.

Powering up the causeway I reached the end of the fields where I scanned the brambles for any passing migrants. I saw and heard plenty of Great Tits, Read Buntings, Blue Tits and Gold Finches, but very little else. I looked skywards at the pylon where Cormorants always roost, and seeing none, scanned it more closely. Amazingly, there was a lone Peregrine Falcon perched up high. My first ever on patch and a nice two pointed for me. A singing Whitethroat and Blackcap then appeared in rapid succession, moving to fast for me to take photos.

Another site first for me! This time a magnificent Peregrine Falcon.
I scanned the horse paddocks where a Yellow Wagtail and Wheatear had been spotted the previous day but after 15 minutes of searching I decided to head home to do some work. It was at that moment that a lone Swallow darted past me and flew across the lake. All in all I was only out for just over an hour, but added seven new birds. Here's hoping I can pick up a few more summer visitors next weekend.

I'm now on 65 birds for the year, which is 10 more than I managed this time last year.

A poor crop as I couldn't get anywhere close to this Common Sandpiper.
Here's my original image of the Peregrine.