Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Patch thrashing and Ouzels on Titterstone Clee

Today was just one of those days. I decided to get out early onto the patch, and within a few minutes of walking along the river I realised why I had done this. I saw a shape swimming down the opposite side of the river, and soon after, having swam level with me, I realised I was watching a stunning female OTTER! Only my 2nd I have recorded on patch!

For the next 40 minutes, i was treated to stunning views as it crossed the river onto the near bank, and even sat out on a fallen tree for a while between fishing trips! I was absolutely gob-smacked!
Sadly, my viewing was cut short as the first rowing boat of the morning moved through, and as that disappeared up the river, so did the Otter!

A little further upriver, a call I had not heard for many months rang out, and a Common Sandpiper flew its way upriver, my first of the year!

After this point, it was all about the ducks, and I managed to count 9 Goosander and 12 Mandarin (of which only 1 was female!) dotted up the river. The Goosanders were particularly satisfying as they rarely stay in this kind of number this late in the year, raising brief hopes that a couple of pairs may attempt to breed. Sadly, they have now left, as they so often do as the river waterlevel starts to drop!

The Common Sandpiper flew past me once more, again moving northwards, and this was the last I saw of it!

After a great few hours on patch, I decided to take a punt and head up onto Titterstone Clee, mainly in the hope of finding some black and white Thrushes.

To cut the story short, after a significant effort, with a good few hours walking, searching and scanning, a brief flight view of a female RING OUZEL had us moving very quickly back towards the old quarry as it flew in that direction.

Sadly, once getting around there, it had again disappeared, and another significant time searching failed to find anything.
Rather reluctantly, it was back to the car, and while doing so, I saw a dark bird fly briefly from rocks where a few screaming children had just ran through, straight into a dense clump of gorse.

Again, another significant wait followed, but it was completely worth it! A stunning male RING OUZEL, rather slowly and nervously emerged from the gorse, before eventually dropping back down to feed where it had been previously  near the rocks at the bottom of the hill, giving great scope views!

Other than the 2 Ouzels, another highlight was the outstanding number of Wheatear present across the summit and quarry's, with at very least 20 present! They were everywhere!

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