Monday 29 April 2019

The wanderer returns

I was back on the patch yesterday to do a belated WeBS count after returning from a birding trip to the Greek island of Lesvos in the early hours of the morning - how's that for dedication?. A wood sandpiper had been reported which I was keen to see despite this being easily the most common wader on Lesvos with up to 100 in one place.

This is a photo from Lesvos, not Druridge. Lesvos more than lived up to my expectations, it was a great place with excellent birding and I hope to be back there someday.

Wood Sandpiper at Kalloni salt pans on Lesvos
I did see the wood sandpiper on the Budge fields and it was nice to get it on the WeBS count. There wasn't much to count with most of the wintering duck departed and very few waders. Frustratingly five whimbrel flew over, looked like landing but carried on north.

There was a constant background noise of singing warblers - all new in since I left other than chiffchaff. Blackcap, willow, whitethroat, sedge, grasshopper in the dunes by the blockhouse, lesser whitethroat by the Oddie hide and reed warbler in the reedbed.

Also new for the year was this nice fresh speckled wood butterfly

Fresh Speckled Wood - iPhone shot. 
Tonight, prompted by the report of a little tern on the beach, I had a wander up to Chibburn Mouth to check its suitability for fencing to protect shorebirds and it looks good!

On the way there, goldfinches, linnets and skylarks were all in song in the dunes.

Goldfinch (I only spotted the ring when I looked at the photos)
Skylark on the haul road
 A lapwing pair in the fields by the haul road had four tiny furball-like chicks scampering around. I hope they all get to fledge! I walked back by the beach, there was no little terns to be seen but a sandwich tern was feeding offshore and this black-headed gull was nicely lit by the evening sun against the dunes.

Black-headed gull