Saturday, 9 May 2009

Hurrah for spring!

It's back! Today was a lovely warm, sunny, and more importantly, bird filled, day in Beds.

It started off slow at Broom with just the single Dunlin and Ringo from last night still on the G&M pits.

Things improved when I looked round the Southill Estate, where on the way in found a Spotted Fly (my first of the year), and on the way out found a singing Siskin!

A quick look at the local Peregrines found the male flying high in stiff-winged display. There was also singing Yellow Wags and Meadow Pipits in the surrounding fields. Today really was a world away from the last few weeks of cold westerlies, and unpleasant conditions.
Tundra Ringed Plover

The day improved markedly when I arrived at Castle Mills pit. About the first bird I looked at was a tundra Ringed Plover - a sure sign of a few waders moving. However within a few minutes I was looking at this lovely beastie:

Temminck's Stint. My first self-found in the county, and about the 14th since 1946. A decent bird, which has been a long time coming this spring!
After a few hours watching this bird, and chatting with the various birders that came and went, I headed off to Stewartby. Unfortunately the Whinchat had moved on, but there were plenty of Grizzled and Dingy Skippers to keep me occupied. I also saw one Green Hairstreak vanish round a hawthorn never to reappear. Birds were thin on the ground but I did hear several Garden Warblers singing from the surrounding scub.

Rookery was next (and last) on the list of places to visit. Lol and Roy had just arrived too. As we stood chatting on the bank, Roy picked up a Marsh Harrier on the far side. This one was a different individual from the bird earlier on in the week, and looked like an adult female. With so many Marsh Harriers being seen now in Beds it surely won't be too much longer before we see the first breeding attempts?

Other stuff found in Rookery included three Hobbies, loads of Swifts (100+), a pair of displaying Ringed Plovers, several Redshanks, a pair of Oystercatchers, and a few ducks of various species.

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