Female type Marsh Harrier straight thru heading South over Fens Top Pool at 7am:eek!: Got some arse-end shots only. Also 2 LRP’s feeding on the muddy edge on Fens Middle Pool - quiet for singing Warblers but both Willow Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat heard briefly.....
Yesterday morning was a decidely chilly and overcast affair so an hour from 7-8 was all i put in. Still present were the 2 LRP's and i made it 3 singing Lesser Whitethroats - Marsh Marigold, or Kingcup, brightened up an otherwise dull visit.....
I scanned the 3 pools for any sign of Teal, hybrid or otherwise, that might have escaped from the collection at Dodgy Marshes but to no avail
I will now change tactic and cycle up ahead of weather fronts to see if the changeable weather forces anything down. Lens cover and brolly in addition to a range of optics and camera:t:
A couple of early morning visits over the weekend yielded on Whitethroat as a new Spring species. I busied myself litter-picking instead of cycling past it and moaning! There isn't actually the litter problem there used to be but that is no doubt due to locals and the Wardens being vigilant but every little helps:t:
Both days saw a mixture of Swallows and Sand Martins with a few House feeding over both the Top and Middle Pools about 30 in total so yes they do exist.....
The last couple of early morning visits have been more productive.....picking litter! But i might as well be doing something.
Hirundines have been non-existant save for ystda’s high-flying Sand Martin whilst there are good numbers still of breeding condition large Gulls, mainly LBB’s, no GBB or YLG. Warbler-wise like everywhere else there does seem to be a lot of Blackcaps and FP is no exception plus a few Chiffchaffs and yesterday in addition a solitary Whitethroat and my first on-site Garden Warbler following Sunday’s 2 at Muddleton.
I plan to do a Saturday Most-Of-The-Dayer starting just after first light c/w sandwiches, flask and B On my own i am not optimistic and 50-60 could be possible it depends on how many of the more common migrant species are a no show:-C
0800-1000 yesterday as it was cool to begin but the cloud lifted and it brightened somewhat. I didn't litter pick and spent the whole period on the main causeway by the central bench as it affords elevated views of the whole series of pools and more importantly anything approaching from any direction.
5 species of Warbler were seen and heard.
A few Blackcaps, a couple of Chiffchaffs and singles of Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler and the attached Whitethroat. This bird held territory about 15 yards from the bench and was very obliging and altho they do appear to have made a comeback they still do so from about 5k miles away:t:
The last few visits hasn't yielded anything really with regard to passage, i can only put it down to the cold weather affecting numbers. Time will tell if this is the case or something more sinister...
A smart adult Yellow-legged Gull has been present each morning, presumably the same bird, and yesterday i recorded my first Spring Common Sandpiper at a local site - i do not count Sandwell Valley or Muddleton as 'local'. I also bumped into Mark-C and had a nice chat whilst looking at his first Swifts of the year and a handful of Hirundines (is that the new collective noun?) All 3 species were hawking over the shelter of the Middle Pool. Whitethroats have been the most obvious Warbler of late certainly vocally and i doubt whether the place will pass my 8-warbler test of yesteryear:C
I envy Mark's forthcoming trip to Dorset particularly Lodmoor which i love and i reccomend he visit the Osprey reintroduction bit on Arne RSPB whilst he is in the area.
Laurie, enjoyed the chat, have full days planned for Arne and Brownsea, plus a couple of days Weymouth/ Portland. Regards the discussion about the lack of H. Martins and Swallows, just a thought do you think the cyclones in South east Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, may have an effect.
It can’t not have but coverage by local birdwatchers, such as it is, will be very sparse i would have thought. Birds are where the birders are whether it is breeding birds, migrants or displaced rarities - no observers no records. Western Europe has good coverage and the UK is saturated with them, well photographers anyway, but there are many areas in the UK that get little coverage whilst the bias understandably is towards the coast, managed reserves and water.
I enquired with a birdwatching link in Mali a couple of years ago to find out what vis-mig had been like for Northbound migrants but never received a reply:-C
Just look at the coverage that the invasion of the displaced Hawfinches generated. The Saharan duststorm coming up from Morocco had quite an effect so it must work the other way.
It is well-known that European Swallows Winter in Southern Africa but it’s a huge region and a BTO paper by the late Chris Mead showed recoveries and controls came from areas reflecting White residential birders and after all how many dead Passerines does one find? They rot so quickly. The 2 main population crashes of Sand Martin have been well documented as has the affect on associated species that Winter or used to in the sub-Saharan Sahel region e.g. Whitethroat and Redstart. Anoher paper, more recent, said that in over 300k House Martins ringed in the UK there had only been one recovery South of the Sahara and that was in Nigeria..........probably on a plate surrounded by Rice:eek!: Which does beg the question where do they Winter? They also feed higher so are less noticeable to the non-birder but they have to roost somewhere.
Targeted Geo-locaters are the way to go imo rather than countless hours spent ringing and handling birds but try telling ringers that - they do not want to stop setting up nets or trapping rarities because they are licensed innit!
Geo-tagging would give real time info during movement and inclement weather in a way that old-fashioned ringing can never do and yields instant results. Over 100k Nightingales have been rung in this country but 25 with Geo-tags yielded more information over a 2-year period than all the ringed birds have ever done - same with the BTO Cuckoo scheme:t:
Good Birding and i hope to have another chat up at Fens Pools post-Doorzett -
Am going up this morning about 8-1030 and again this afternoon now that we have a relatively rain-free day!
The best place imho is the bench half-way along the old railway track.
This affords views over all of the Top (Fens) Pool and if you walk 50 yards either way you can see 90% of the Middle Pool and about 50% of the smaller Grove Pool.
This viewpoint affords good coverage over 75% of the total area and allows observation of vismig generally and anything wader-sized and above that moves thru without stopping. From there all of the pools are accessible on foot or in my case pushbike and there are several options for exiting back via Brierley Hill. For those with cars you can park at either end of the railway track whether you arrive via Russells Hall or the access road adjacent to Aldi. The actual main car park is down on the Middle Pool and is accessed via Brockmoor. This allows a good figure-of-8 walk around the whole area. Tracks and paths are obvious and beyond the Top Pool, towards the Hospital, if you walk the edge are extensive areas of scrub which often get neglected c/w an interesting area of wet meadows and little pools including an area of Mediaeval Ridge and Furrow grassland. This area has a range of flowers, sedges etc and is the localised haunt of Great Crested Newts or ‘Pensnett Dragons’ as they are locally known - there’s a joke there somewhere The presence of the GC Newts affords the site SSSI status.
I will post the usual range of pics including YLG if one appears...