Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Waterbirds and a Chat

An evening drop into Upton Warren was fairly eventful. A stop at the Moors revealed a pair of PINTAIL which were the first i had seen here this year.
The flashes faired slightly better though, with a nice little array of waders. A single winter plumaged DUNLIN was feeding at the back of the flash before flying north towards the Moors Pool after only a few minutes. The other wader highlight was a flock of 5 RUFF which were very mobile around the flashes, feeding incessantly.
It has in fact been a very good year for this species at Upton Warren, with an almost continual presence throughout the entire autumn period, which contracts significantly to the last few years which has seen relatively few records of fairly short staying birds. Singles of both Green and Common Sandpiper were also present.

As i had still failed to connect with a Whinchat this year i became very tempted by news of the presence of 3 around Holt, so early the next morning i headed down there, and after a short walk, a single stunning juvenile WHINCHAT perched up close by, flycatching from an area of amazing looking habitat.

I find it incredible that i could manage 10 months into a year without seeing a Whinchat, considering the numbers of them i saw last year it came as somewhat of a shock. It has been clear that they have been either scarce or short stayers for most of the summer and i also haven't found any this year, so i was very grateful for this chance so late in the year to catch up with one.

As you would expect, a visit to this area couldn't be completed without the visit into the Camp lane Pits, where i was surprised to see the large number of 8 LITTLE EGRETS, the 2nd largest count in Grimleys history. They were well spread out across the pools but occasionally a number of them would join up briefly for a fly around.
5 were feeding in the small pool below the north end viewpoint.

It was also great to have the sight and sound of 100+ Wigeon around the pool, with also small numbers flying over. It is a sound i look forward to every winter and i'm very glad its back !

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