Saturday, 14 May 2016

Stone Love

With the wind in the East for over a week I have tried my best to get out checking spots across the Ely10.  There's not been a stand out site or day but an steady accumulation of good birds which is hinting that a biggie may just be around the next corner.  Some evening jaunts have revealed Long-eared and Short-eared Owl, a few Bittern, Grasshopper Warbler, Bearded Tits but fewer waders than  hoped for as most spots still have high water.  Avocets have been ubiquitous but finding Dunlin, Common and Wood Sandpiper, Ringed, Little Ringed, Golden and Grey Plovers has been a harder prospect although all have shown themselves as have Crane and Great White Egret.

Indeed the Great White Egret at Welney seemed to only decide at the last second to not join us in the hide and afforded excellent views.
A 2nd Calendar year Caspian Gull was a pleasant diversion at Burwell Fen but didn't hang around for very long.
Roswell Pits did as it should and in warm SE airflow held the Black Tern shown so well in Ben's photo's, Arctic Terns have continued to move through in one or two's with 10 in the 10 being my cumulative total thus far.

This morning I took a bike ride at dawn up the western edge of the Ouse Washes and managed to persuade Mark Hawkes that it might be a worthwhile proposition.  We had a productive time and having enjoyed some Garganey and lekking Ruff, along with a close encounter with a Short-eared Owl we were feeling our expectations only partially fulfilled. 

Looking across the damp grassland of the pilot project behind Stevens Hide I saw a brown lump which I thought looked like the Owl hunkered against a sedge tuft.  As soon as I had a look through my scope I chuckled - it was a Stone Curlew, not the scarce wader that I had envisaged but definitely a cracker. 
Hopefully tomorrows ElyWildspace bird race will be a good one and add migratory excitement to the weekend but looking closer to home the garden is alive with breeding birds.  Amidst the rattles and scratches and melodic rambles of the recently arrived Sylvias the occasional purr of Turtle Dove is reassuring but sightings have been sporadic.  The House Sparrows and Great Tits have young in the nestbox and the Jackdaws have noisy young in the outhouse chimney, House Martins are flirting with the roof spaces and singing from the cornice tiles.  All bodes well for an increasingly interesting spring migration, fingers crossed for another belter or two in the next week.



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