Sunday, 17 April 2011

Linacre WeBS Walk and 2 Patch Year Ticks - 17th April 2011

Because we were busy checking the nestboxes yesterday we didn't really do much for the monthly WeBS count. Combined with this was the fact that we'd seen an unidentified wader on the middle reservoir yesterday, so I returned to Linacre this morning to carry out the count, check on the Pied Flycatcher and see if I could relocate and identify the wader.

As it turned out I made the right decision because I scored on all fronts. Firstly the wader we'd seen yesterday was relocated back in the same spot and turned out to be a Common Sandpiper!! It wasn't what I'd thought it was yesterday, and I won't embarrass myself anymore by repeating my initial idea here (sorry everyone that was present yesterday) , but it was nevertheless a good record. Our last records was back in 2009 when 1 was seen once and in May and July 2008 when 2 were present . With the reservoirs very low this year and therefore lots of potential breeding habitat available, perhaps we'll get lucky this year and this bird will find a mate and breed? I'll keep you up to date with any developments.

Common Sandpiper

Next job for this morning was to check on the male Pied Flycatcher seen and heard singing yesterday. I returned to the same area where we'd found him yesterday and soon saw him feeding high up in the treetops. He wasn't singing much today and I soon found out why - he'd already got himself a female bird!!  Both the male and female birds were then seen to investigate one of the group's nestboxes! Interestingly the same box that was used successfully by this or another pair of Pied Flycatchers in 2008 and thankfully one that wasn't already being used by the Blue or Great Tits  Again, I'll let you know what happens next.

The final "job" this morning was to try and carry out the WeBS count. Given the low water levels in the top and middle reservoirs there were very few birds about and the counts were pretty poor. The only exception being Mallard, whose numbers were boosted with the 21 ducklings still feeding happily with their parents on the top reservoir and another interesting year tick in the shape of an Oystercatcher that flew straight up the valley calling loudly all the way! Unfortunately, it didn't stop for a photo, but it may return and join the Common Sandpiper on the muddy shoreline. Counts for the waterbirds this month were: Little Grebe (heard), Great-crested Grebe (3), Mallard (35), Coot (7), Moorhen (5), Tufted Duck (12), Canada Goose (4 flying down the valley honking loudly), Mandarin (3 males).

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