Monday, 1 April 2013

Easter Sun

After my bank holiday weekend got off to the perfect start (an extended lay in) I decided to spend a few hours our on the reserve in the sunshine. It was lovely to be able to bird and not feel like my face was being slowly worn away by the biting easterlies that have been present for the last week or so. There wasn't anything new to report, as the weather appears to have put an almost complete halt to migration, and there is a sense that everything is now waiting eagerly to burst into action, whether it be breeding or migrating. Present in good numbers still are Ruff, with this individual showing particularly well from the 360 hide.

Ruff, Philomacus pugnax

The Ruff  is now red-listed in Britain due to the decline in the breeding population. This bird (likely a male, as females very rarely winter in Britain) will soon be returning to its breeding grounds in Northern Europe and Asia to begin lekking. Also around the reserve, Wigeon and Brent Geese are still numbering in the hundreds, and Teal, Goldeneye and Pintail remain.
There are a few species however, that are starting to swing into action so to speak. I spent 20 minutes on the sea wall looking over the salt marsh, hoping for a few raptors to drop in, alas there was no sign. 3 Knot, a Black-tailed Godwit and ten or so noisy Redshank kept me company. The lapwing are also displaying over the wet grasslands and scrapes, but by far the noisiest birds on the reserve at the moment are the Black-Headed Gulls, which are all competing for what little of the islands are visible above the water at the moment.  I spent about half an hour watching these sociable and rather underrated birds scrapping in the sunshine, with some having already chosen and won a suitable site. What separates one spot of gravel from the next is a mystery to me!

Black-headed Gull, Chroicocephalus ridibundus 

Black-headed Gull, Chroicocephalus ridibundus 

Black-headed Gull, Chroicocephalus ridibundus 

As I headed back home to get ready for a weekend with the Wader Wash Ringing Group, the wind started to pick up again and i spared a thought for all those seabirds that tragically didn't make it back to the East Coast this year to breed. Lets hope that the damage to the population isn't too severe! 

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