Friday, 12 August 2011

CURLEW at Wilstone - a welcome addition to the Year List (LGRE)


Still SW winds but much lighter in strength than yesterday. A few bright intervals but mainly cloudy - still warm though.........


Spent much of the afternoon at Wilstone where I was dismayed at the number of families walking their dogs and children wandering aimlessly out on the mud and flushing up all of the birds. Where are the signs informing people where they can and cannot walk - PLEASE KEEP ONLY TO THE FOOTPATHS AND DO NOT WALK OUT ON TO THE MUD OR SPITS....

At around 1430 hours, a Numenius species flew in and landed on the vast tract of mud in front of the Drayton Bank Hide. Initially 'scoping from the car park steps, I could not make out its exact identity, particularly as it had a short bill. I walked down to the new overflow bridge and was delighted to find that it was a juvenile EURASIAN CURLEW - my first at the reservoirs this year and my first in the county this year too. It did have a very short bill but also had a pale eye-ring, little in the way of an eye-stripe, an all dark uniform crown and rather sullied breast washing. It fed unperturbed for some while before being suddenly attacked by a juvenile YELLOW-LEGGED GULL of all things and then flew around calling loudly for several minutes. It initially landed in Cemetery Corner before relocating to the central spit and was then flushed by a man walking his dog across the spit ! It then flew back towards the hide and landed again, resuming feeding at the water's edge and affording excellent views from the hide. It then had to endure another flushing from a woman and her two children, who had walked out from the beach in the SE corner to the ringing site and then out along the Drayton Bank. This was the last straw and the Curlew flew off strongly east, 'shouting' loudly as it went (1530 hours).

Other waders present included 4 adult ICELANDIC BLACK-TAILED GODWITS (1 remaining after the flush), an outstanding 11 COMMON GREENSHANKS, 5 GREEN SANDPIPERS, 3 Common Sandpipers and the juvenile DUNLIN. I could not find the two LRP's that Roy and Francis had seen earlier but the Lapwing flock was still high at 382 individuals.

The juvenile RED-CRESTED POCHARD was present for a second day by the middle spit, whilst other wildfowl included 17 Common Teal, 17 Shoveler, 11 Northern Pochard and 41 Mute Swans. LITTLE EGRETS were well down at just 22, whilst Common Terns numbered 52.

Richard Woodhead located a single SPOTTED FLYCATCHER in the 'usual' hedgerow leading north from the new overflow bridge, this bird showing well for IW, JT, DB and myself, whilst 2 juvenile Blackcaps were also migrants; Barn Swallows numbered 22 and House Martins 46, with a pair of Stock Doves dropping down to the mud edge to drink.

On STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR, the two adult WHOOPER SWANS were still present

There was no further sign of Francis Buckle's adult OSPREY that quickly flew through west.

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