Friday, 15 March 2013

Getting The Abbey Habit

Pied wagtail
There was lots of activity at Freeman's Pools today, with wigeon and black-headed gull numbers particularly notable. The small number of 'resident' wigeon had been joined by those from Frog Pond and as a result over thirty were present.
Twenty-eight black-headed gulls were hanging around the gravel island make it look for all the world like an emerging breeding colony. Let's hope not.
There were still 6 tufted ducks in the area plus the usual multiple teal and mallards. There was no sign of any gadwall or shoveler.
The mute swan pair continue to stay on the upper pool, a little egret was patrolling the main pool edges and the ever present coots and moorhens were dotted around the site.
I didn't see the green sandpiper today but it was on The Flood yesterday and the Wildfowlers' Pools most days during the week.
Up to 12 lapwings were displaying over the maize fields in the afternoon sun. They often nest here before the ploughing and 'napalming' commences and lose their first clutches. Thankfully some pairs re-lay and so some lapwing chicks do fledge most years.  

Meadow pipit
Pied wagtails and meadow pipits seem to be everywhere at the moment but I've only seen a single rock pipit in recent days.
One wagtail on The Flood on Wednesday looked very much like a white wagtail, but that would be an extremely early date and therefore highly unlikely. Without my 'scope I wasn't able to clinch it either way. We usually get a few of these passage migrants through in April and The Flood tends to be the most reliable place to find them locally.     

Jenny and I paid a visit to Cockersand Abbey yesterday, stopping briefly at Conder Pool en route. It was high tide and there was little of note to see on the river itself. Of note, a lone greenshank was roosting on the pools and a single whooper swan was feeding with a small group of mutes at the back of the pool.

Jenny, wet and cold at Cockersand Abbey
We checked the fields along Jeremy Lane and out to Cockersands but we didn't find any further yellow-billed swans.
The high tide wader roost at Plover Scar contained a few oystercatcher, a handful of knot, a couple each of dunlin, grey and ringed plover and 108 turnstone.  


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