Monday, August 28, 2017

Sunday morning listing

Up early Sunday morning, and Abberton Res still has its star birds. I can be there and back before lunch so I'm in the car and heading off. 

I arrive and have no real idea where to start. I go to Billett's farm but there are only a couple of cars here; surely there would be more here, so I carry on to a lay-by pull in over Wigborough bay and in the distance I see several Avocets, lots of Black-Tailed Godwits, some Ruffs, some Wigeon, but I'm on my own and I have the feeling I should be somewhere else. I drive round to the Pegdon side and down to the screens and have a spectacular couple of minutes with a juvenile Peregrine and a juvenile Marsh Harrier exchanging pleasantries. The Harrier is superb, chocolate brown apart from a bright cream crown and a fine line of orange feather edgings down the wing. However again I am on my own and not seeing the star birds, so after checking Twitter - I should have done this a while ago - I go round to Abberton Church and meet a crowd of happy smiling faces coming away "yes - down there". And the star birds, 2 Red-Necked Phalaropes, are indeed down there and out of sight behind some tall vegetation. For the next fifteen minutes we make do with glimpses of distant birds through the foliage. Phalaropes they clearly are; near they clearly aren't.

I am sent back to Billet's Farm where I am reliably told the Pectoral Sandpiper has been on display all morning. We are staring directly into the sun and doing birding-by-silhouette. We find a couple of candidate birds, even agree on the same one, but end up thinking it is a ruff. Strangely I enjoy this more than I think I would enjoy being shown a distant Pec. Such is birding.

Then it is back home for lunch. I'm left with that familiar Abberton feeling; Abberton is not so much a reservoir, more an inland sea. Good birds seen distantly, but never the full list. That feeling that someone somewhere else is seeing something really good. My Abberton list is excellent given the few visits I make, but my list of Abberton misses is even better. 

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Murder on the patch

A mid-morning stroll round the patch on this the first day of August. A kingfisher the main avian sighting - a couple of months since I saw one of these on the patch - and a flock of 30 Swifts high over the park evidence of migration. Otherwise it was the camera not the binoculars that did the work again today.

An Ornate Digger Wasp at the colony by the bridge, this time with paralysed prey about to be taken down the tunnel to feed a growing grub. Insect life is just brutal.

A couple of new dragons for the year on the patch today (for me). A black-tailed skimmer whizzed by and what I believe is a female common darter perched briefly.

Finally a hoverfly. This thing is tiny, under a centimetre. I think it is a female sphaerophoria interrupta, which is "common and widespread" as well as small and beautiful.

Rarity chasing in Cambridgeshire part 2.

Last post left you on the edge of your seats as your intrepid birders ticked off the first of three potential rarities and headed off in sea...