Saturday, 29 March 2014

Anglers CP

So in order to try to gain extra species in my quest for 100 today I headed to Anglers CP, for the first time properly since before I was with my family and without any proper kit. It has its great reputation and as such I was optimistic of pulling up a few species today, as well as spotting some other great stuff.
The site was great, I arrived at half 10 to Wigeon, Tufted Duck and Goldeneye on the lake and Black Headed Gulls in the sky. I had a wander down to the hide and watched from there for a while. There was stuff about; Lapwing, Redshank, Common Snipe, Gadwall and Shoveler. The snipe were giving especially good views as they probed along the shoreline.
After spending a while there I decided to head towards Wintersett Reservoir to see if there was anything on there. On the way I passed the feeding station which had good numbers of tree sparrow among other more regular garden birds.
On Wintersett there was not a lot. There were other birders there too and they also commented on how quiet it was. There were Great Crested Grebe, Coots and Black-Headed Gulls, but the highlight was a lovely male Reed Bunting that flew across the front of us.
After that I headed back to the hide for lunch. There were some other guys there too, and while we were all watching the snipe one commented on a jack snipe flying in. I spent a good few hours examining the snipe, a group of around 10, throughout the day, and I can safely say there was no jack snipe in that group. If there was one there it was very well hidden, which of course they have the potential to do.
There was smashing views of a Kestrel though, as it hunted right outside the hide. It had been loitering round all morning but now it was very close and really easy to photograph.
After a stay in the hide I decided to head off back to the top. On the way I still failed to spot any year ticks, though I did spot a Common Buzzard and juvenile Herring Gulls overhead. It was when I saw the buzzard that I decided to stay a little longer, as the weather was picking up and I thought I should give the site a bit more time.
I decided to watch the farmland for a bit, but only managed Lapwing, Carrion Crow and Magpie for my effort. I did though, to my frustration, hear a green woodpecker. Having not seen one yet this year I could have badly done with that be it failed to show up, only mocking me from over the hills.
I decided to head back to the hide to give it another shot. On the way I spotted a Comma Butterfly resting on a sapling. This is probably the earliest I have ever recorded this species, and it added to the Peacock butterfly that I had seen earlier in the day, bringing my butterfly species list up to 2 for the day.
Back in the hide little had changed. There were more Canada Geese around, and more Oystercatchers too. There were also 2 Lesser Black-Backed Gulls on the rocks, another nice addition to my day list. In my time I decided to watch the snipe for a while, since I love snipe and was still not convinced about the apparent jack snipe earlier.
-Snipe, along with Shoveler and Canada Geese
It was while I was watching the snipe that I heard a tremendous racket from the Black-Headed Gulls and looked up to see that the Lesser Black-Backed's had taken off. But one of the LBBG's was not quite what it seemed, for when I saw it now in this new light it was clear that it was in fact a Yellow-Legged Gull.
I had heard rumour that there was one loitering around the site for a while, but since I had not found it or any other large gull for the morning I figured it must be old news, since it has not been on bird guides for a while. However here it was in front of me, and all the characters seemed right, paler, yellow legs. The only thing that made me doubt what seemed pretty obvious was the fact that it was so close to the LBBG, as in they were calling in sync, preening each other and even passing each other sticks. That is not normal between species. However, from what I have gathered from my research it seems that these 2 birds seem to like each other, so that seems to settle it then that I have indeed found my only second ever Yellow Legged Gull
Of course the first time I saw this bird it was at Burnsal Bridge and the sheep scared it away before I had properly checked it out. That was also the at a time before I knew of the existence of Caspian Gulls, so really that was a very dubious record, so to catch up with this confiding individual, and manage to get some record shots at the same time was very pleasing.
-LBBG and Yellow Legged Gull
-Yellow Legged Gull
If I had decided to leave I would never have seen this bird, so I was pleased I stayed. It was nice to finally catch up with one again, and made for an outstanding day.
So, crunch time. I only managed one tick today, meaning I have to muster 4 in 2 days. Its do-able, but we will have to see how it goes. The matter of the green woodpecker is very frustrating but we will get over it. Now all that needs to be said is what a great day I had at Anglers.

Species List: Robin, Long-Tailed Tit, Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Moorhen, Coot, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Starling, Jackdaw, Goldeneye, Woodpigeon, Redshank, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Common Snipe, Black-Headed Gull, Cormorant, Great Crested Grebe, Grey Heron, Magpie, Meadow Pipit, Kestrel, Carrion Crow, Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, Shoveler, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Tree Sparrow, Blackbird, Common Buzzard, Herring Gull, Bullfinch, Yellow Legged Gull, Greenfinch

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