Monday, 25 April 2011

Easter Twitch

 Paul and I finally got ourselves sorted on Sunday morning to visit Welney and twitch the White-spotted Bluethroat that had returned to the site for the second successive year.
 It was another early start and we arrived at the reserve for about 7:30, flushing a Barn Owl from one of the posts near the car-park.
 The Bluethroat has re-established territory down at the far end of the reserve and  the walk down provided us with an accompaniment of songs from Whitethroat, Reed and Sedge Warblers.
 Once we reached Lyle Hide we decided to have a look out across the marshes to see what was about..
Avocets were nesting, Shelduck loafed around as well as good numbers of Gadwall, some Mallard, Shoveler and Teal. There were lots of Mute Swans on the meadows and surprisingly 30 or 40 Whoopers still around Two Marsh Harriers were seen and a Pied Wagtail was building a nest in the hide itself.
 Suddenly something was going on outside and we were summoned out, the Bluethroat was about. We had studied the song of this bird  on a tape before arriving and were slightly underwhelmed, but in reality the song was wonderful, not as rich as a Nightingale but a real showpiece. At first he only sang from the bottom of a tree out of sight, but then jumped onto a fence with his back to us. Eventually we were treated to a full frontal of his brilliant blue chest with it's central white spot, while he performed for a minute or so, before flying off down the stream. We did get another decent view, before he disappeared again, apparently for the rest of the day.
 On site we bumped into Robin, who like us was paying his first visit to this magnificent bird. His photos can be seen at http://robinsbirds.blogspot.com/
 Back at the observatory  we watched House Martins visiting their nests under the eaves and about a dozen Ruff and a couple of Little-ringed Plover were out on the scrapes. Still 20 or so Wigeon were lingering.
 Before leaving we had  breakfast in the cafe, while we looked out over Lady Fen. Here Avocets, Lapwings and Redshanks paddled in the shallow water, a Yellow Wagtail flew over and Tree Sparrows fed on the feeders.
 Another great twitch and a 'life bird' for both of us.

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