On probably the nicest and warmest day we’ve had so far this year I made my way up to Bransholme Reservoir to conduct my BTO Wetlands Bird Survey (WeBS). When I arrived at the lagoon which aims to protect north Hull from flooding I soon noticed a distinct lack of birds, however something caught my eye and I was given that wonderful sight of spring and summer the swallow (Y68) along with a House Martin (Y69)
I’ve been counting at this site for nearly a year now, and enjoy doing the monthly count, good to see how things change from month to month. This month the summer arrivals as previously mentioned were also greeted with some lesser black backed gulls, which I haven’t recorded over winter, other gulls present include herring, common and black headed.
Gulls! Gulls! Gulls!
The numbers of winter wildfowl were on the decline with small numbers of gadwall, pochard and shoveler compared to previous months. Teal, coot, mallard, mute swan were also present. No sign of the terrapin I saw twice last year yet, wonder if it’ll surface on a hot day again this year. Also no Chiffchaff that was singing every summer visit last year. Hopefully that’ll be an addition for my next visit.
Since last update I’ve not done any big birding trips but a few visits to several places.
The first was to Top Hill Low where actually seeing a Cuckoo was the highlight, along with getting a Pintail as a ‘lifer’. Trips around the Hull/Willerby/Cottingham boundary produced a gorgeous Wheatear and Red-Legged Partridge for year firsts.
I also took part in my first ever BTO WeBS count, my site didn’t have much wildfowl, with the best bird being a pair of Tufted Ducks! However there was swifts a plenty with some coming so close you can hear their wings cutting through the air. Which is absolutely fantastic and one of my favourite things about summer birding, how swifts and swallows seem to act as if you don’t exist!
Swinemoor Common had a number of Wood Sandpipers reported on the site, by the time I managed to get onto there on the Tuesday night they had gone and all I took away with me was Grey Partridge for the year (also some muddy clothes and a scratched stomach from someone how obviously had little control of their dog…).
The following Saturday and Sunday another four Wood Sandpipers had been reported. Despite feeling dreadful due to the beginning of a cold (on the hottest days of the year) I decided to take a trip up after work. I had only taken binoculars and the sun was in the wrong position to bird at the pools where the Sandpipers had been seen. As I struggled to decipher if it were a Sandpiper or Redshank Steve Webb turned up with his scope and managed to find the sandpiper and kindly pointed it out. Once I had identified both birds the low sun silhouetting the birds allowed for a lesson in behaviour difference between the birds. Also on site were 6 Ringed Plovers and 2 Little Ringed Plovers for the year.
I woke the next day to find out that a Temminck’s Stint had been reported on Swinemoor with the Woodsandpiper and the Plovers. Unfortunately I had to run some errands so it wasn’t going to be until late afternoon that I could get onto the site. Before heading off I got a twitter mention on my phone, it was from The Wold Ranger saying he’d tried for the Temminck’s with no luck. I still thought I’d give it a go, learning from yesterdays mistake I took my scope with me this time. I waited around the site for quite a while watching the Wood Sandpiper and trying to spot the Temminck’s. With no luck on the main pools I thought I’d try some further up, however at this point my tripod some how broke whilst panning so now the tilt is knackered and constantly goes forward or backwards making searching for an elusive wader very tricky. I was just about to give up and head home when I saw Steve had arrived on site and was looking at the main pools. Once again he was able to pick out a bird I was struggling to see in no time at all. Although as you can imagine for “Britain’s Top Twitcher” his ID skills and experience are incredibly superior to mine. Also managed to find first Yellow Wagtail of the year and shamefully on my way out I got my first Reed Warbler of the year! I took no photographs this time however some good photos on Wold Ranger’s Blog
Six new birds for the year, one a lifer made for a good two days. Now to figure out if my tripod head can be fixed or if I can find a suitable and cheap replacement head!
Posted in 2012 List, birding, Birds, Summer Migrants, twitching
Tagged bird watching, birding, birds, bto, getting annoyed, nature, ringed plovers, swinemoor, temmincks stint, waders, webs, wood sandpiper