Friday, 28 August 2015

Knock on Wood

Magical late afternoon walk across Burwell Fen.  Waders in abundance, often showing well and in great light.  At one point I counted 14 Wood Sandpipers and there were likely to have been more, 6 Green Sandpiper were outnumbered as was the lone, bobbing, Common Sandpiper.  A Spotted Redshank picked through the vegetation and 4 Whimbrel flew over agitating a rather panicky seven whistles as they travelled South.

 There were lots of Ringed Plover picking over the mud and Dunlin joined their feeding troop.  a smart juvenile Little Stint joined them and a party of Black Tailed Godwit flew over. 

Having filled my boots on waders I decided to look at the Lazy Otter floods to see if any gulls were visiting.  It turns out that they are not and the high water level, maintained through pumping, is not leaving much mud for waders either.  However 2 Wood Sands, a Ruff and a Dunlin squeezed themselves onto a metre of mud on the peninsular. 

As the sun dropped an pinked the sky, there was movement on the Old West River as a pair of Great Crested Grebes were feeding young, I guess from a second brood, and one was still catching a ride on it's parents back.


Thursday, 27 August 2015

Fade Away

For one reason or another my time out in the Fen has been pretty limited this summer, I have been exceptionally fortunate in having the odd half hour here and there in different parts of the country to enjoy a smidgen of Purple Emperor , a smatter of Silver-spotted Skipper and an adulation of Adonis Blue.  I revelled in a protracted tussle between a Peregrine and a Goshawk across an indigo of heather and regiment of pine.  A lone Skua harried a Kittiwake as a 2 CY Med Gull looked on from the beach, non-plussed to know it had an age....

So within a tepid revelry, of sorts, I took another gifted hour in the wild at Welney where almost all was in slumber.   Ruff in an abandonment of definition gifted variety and over a hundred, far more than your average can of Heinz, picked around the slowly wetting lagoon.  The odd bird harked back with heckles raised to a time, on the tundra perhaps, where valour was all and all was to play for.

A similar aesthetic reduction has occurred to the Garganey, honourable raspberry blower of the Fen.  Long gone are the cascading pied and spring skied scapulars and the white browed on chocolate promise of May but here the rewards. Two of this years young with seemingly non-plussed parents, who still spring from the mire and flank the young when a harrier coasts by, mingle with the other moulting duck and dabble occasionally within the algae rich soup of the pool.
Another BBC NHU video beckons...but then again how is anyone going to drag you away from the Big Blue on TV....if you've not spent time on the sea off Monterey then, if you can, just go. 


Saturday, 8 August 2015

Another Gull, Another Planet

There are a few flooded fields around the Chittering/Dimmock's Cote area at varying levels of saturation.  The tastiest looking flood is viewable from the riverside walk near the Lazy Otter Pub adjacent to the A10, wader wise it is starting to gather some momentum with 28 Ruff, 7 Dunlin (inc 1 fresh juv), 4 Green Sandpiper, Greenshank, 2 Ringed Plover and a Little Ringed Plover yesterday evening.  I didn't see the Wood Sandpiper of the past few days and I was also far too late to enjoy the previous evenings  moulting Black Tern.  What I did see was the makings of a Gull roost that unsurprisingly, given our location and the late summer build up of numbers, contained a reasonable proportion of Yellow-legged Gulls.  Below are some of the birds present amidst the Lesser-black Backs, always offering some level of challenge I have labelled these with what I think is within the gulls, you may not agree. 

With the lure of migrating waders and wetland birds and the chance to pick through Gulls too I shall be heading back here with some frequency as, I guess, will many others as it's probably the best bit of wader habitat in Cambs at the moment.

1 x ad YL Gull

1x 2CY and  1x 1CY YL Gull here I think

1x 1CY YL Gull