May 2017 - Birding Overview

On the first of May I enjoyed another days birding in North Devon, this time starting at Fremington Pill, with a low tide, the mudflats we exposed giving the birds plenty of opportunities to feed.

A few Curlew were the first seen and with them were eight Whimbrel. Shelduck, Mallard and Little Egret also made an appearance. A single Greenshank made it's way along the waters edge and was in the company of many Redshank. Above the inlet the sound of Jackdaws could be heard as they crossed over on route to the fields behind the inlet.

Next stop was Northam Burrows to see what had dropped in on the recent high tide? Over a hundred Ring Plover were moving through the area as were Dunlin, again well over a hundred individuals. As with many people who come here a picnic was enjoyed as we started to catch sight of Linnet, Pied and White Wagtail, plus Wheatear travelling up and down the beach area. Swallow numbers are increasing as more and more arrive for the summer. One of the best things to hear and see here are the resident Skylarks, singing and flying higher and higher. Other notables were Whimbrel, Little Egret, Black Tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher, Cormorant and Herring Gull.

Our last stop for the day was Woolacombe Bay for fish and chips and to watch the surfers, of course while here I continued to look out for possible notable birds. A Common Sandpiper (my first sighting here) Stonechat, Lesser Whitethroat and plenty of Goldfinch were passing through.

After returning home, the garden has since provided additional ticks for this year with the star bird being a Wheatear passing over. A group of four Swifts made a rapid pass, along with three Swallows, two House Martins, ten House Sparrow and single Buzzard, Green Woodpecker, Song Thrush and Great Spotted Woodpecker.

The second weekend, I met up with my two birding buddies at Brandon Marsh for a mornings birding, sixty three species were listed with the notables being, Blackcap, Buzzard, Cetti's Warbler, Chiffchaff, Common Tern, Cuckoo, Goosander, Great Crested Grebe, Great Spotted Woodpecker, House Martin, Jay, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Lapwing, Linnet, Little Egret, Little Ring Plover, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Reed Warbler, Ringed Plover, Sand Martin, Sedge Warbler, Song Thrush, Swallow, Swift, Treecreeper, Water Rail, Whitethroat, Wigeon and Willow Warbler.

Following a good morning we travelled the short distance to Napton resevior in a quest for Bearded Tit, year ticks for my two buddies.

Upon arriving at the reed bed where I have seen these birds on a regular basis, three birds came our right in front of us. As I turned for my camera I realised that it was still in the car!

After some time here, we moved on to Napton on the hill in search of Flycatchers. Sadly none were seen, however we stopped off to enjoy the panoramic views from the high vantage points. As it was such a bright sunny afternoon we managed to make out known buildings in the distance, these included ones in Nuneaton, Coventry, Southam and Leamington Spa.

The next weekend I travelled to Liverpool for a survey for MARINElife. Meeting up with a fellow surveyor, we boarded the Stena Line Ferry to Belfast. Sailing through the night meant we were given a cabin each and this made sure we were ready for the eight hour survey as the ship returned to Liverpool the following day.

Birds of note were, Black Guillemot, Common and Sandwich Tern, Fulmar, Gannet, Guillemot, Kittiwake, Manx Shearwater, Razorbill and Shag. Sadly no cetaceans were seen, however three Grey Seals made an appearance on three different locations.

The last birding trip was to two of my favourite locations, first was Eyebrook reservoir. Here a total of 37 bird species were seen, the notables were Osprey, Yellowhammer, Red Kite, Little Egret and my first Little Owl this year. After a picnic breakfast we left and made our way the Rutland Water.

Red Kite
As we arrived we bumped in to Tim the now retired reserve manager who was very much still involved in this years "Birdfair".

Taking in the many hides throughout the day gave up the following birds of note. Arctic Tern, Cetti's Warbler, Cuckoo, Egyptian Goose, Garden Warbler, Hobby, Little Egret, Pochard, Red Kite, Red-Legged Partridge, Redshank, Ringed Plover, Sand Martin, Spotted Flycatcher and Yellow Legged Gull.

Whilst walking towards one hide the sight of two Nightingales collecting insects for their young was the highlight by far! 

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