Sunday 28 July 2013

Weekend round-up

I should have spent this weekend at a wedding do in London, so all three visits to the patch and a 'County-tick' at Alnmouth were all a bonus.

Saturday started with a ringing session at Druridge. With only half of the usual nets up, we didn't catch many birds. Warblers dominated the catch again with whitethroat, reed warbler, sedge warbler, chiffchaff and a family party of blackcaps, the amount of whitethroats we've caught this year is unprecedented and we are doing well for reed warblers to.

juvenile reed warbler
The female mandarin duck is still on the big pools and two drake pochard were unusual.

During the ringing session, news broke of a spotted sandpiper at Foxton. So as soon as we packed the nets away we headed up there for a look. A fine 'spotted' adult gave the assembled twitch good views as it pottered about on the banks of the River Aln. A 'county-tick' for, taking my county (low) list to 309.

An brief evening visit to Druridge didn't produce much, the highlight was a dark-phase arctic skua pursuing a common tern well inland over the big pool.

Sunday was a day of two-halves. The day began with strong winds and heavy rain, by tea-time it was warm and sunny but a bit breezy. So an afternoon visit to the patch. At long-last, I found a common sandpiper on the edge of the big pool a very belated year-tick. There were still two little gulls on the big pool and a family of yellow wagtails were in front of the hide.

two little gulls

For scale - little gull and black-headed gull
juvenile black-headed gull passes in front of the hide
common tern on their favourite spot
yellow wagtail
I'm struggling for waders this year. What mud there is at Druridge has either vegetated over or is hidden behind massive clumps of rush. I am relying on the regular passage of marsh harriers to flush something up.

I think a lot of the warblers are second-brooding at the moment, hence our low ringing catch and general lack of activity. These sedge warblers are certainly feeding a second brood.

Sedge warbler feeding young

same bird
137 knot
138 common sandpiper

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