Saturday, 14 April 2012

Sunshine Always Follows Showers

I think we all experience periods where things don’t go quite as planned or as we would hope they would, and then something sparkling happens to make things alright again. Friday’s day out was like that. Having patiently watched Birdguides all week and the reports of a resplendent pair of Garganey at Tophill, I was finally going to get the chance to see them. I haven’t seen a drake in full breeding plumage, so this was going to be a great opportunity.

The pair had been reported on North Lagoon all week, so it was there that I went first. No sign of them!! It seems that overnight the water level in the Lagoon had risen. As Garganey are only small, such a rise may have put much of their food source out of reach, so the chances were that they may be found elsewhere. I looked all over the reserve, but no sign of them anywhere. They could only have moved on. Shame.  
However, that disappointment was well compensated for by some excellent views of other species, and a number of firsts for the year. The firsts included Swallow, Sand Martin, Willow Warbler, and Linnet, and I even came across a couple of Weasels on site. The star of the day though was a cute little Water Vole on North Marsh. I was dodging the showers, sitting in the hide hoping for a glimpse of the Kingfisher, when the Vole appeared from amongst the reeds, sat itself down and began to devour a reed crown. After half an hour of chomping when I thought the poor thing would explode, it calmly launched itself back into the water, swam around the corner and into its bankside tunnel – probably for a sleep to digest its huge meal.

Water Vole

Second helpings

Off to digest its meal
All in all, and with 54 species under my belt for the day – including some fine views of the SEOs and a Willow Tit – I couldn’t complain about missing the Garganey or the rain, could I?

Drake Gadwall

Goldfinch with nesting material

Greylag on sentry duty


Magnificent Short-Eared Owl

Willow Tit

Willow Warbler

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