Saturday, 1 March 2014

Old Moor Return

I had not been out birding for a little while just while the new semester settled down, but the weekend came round and I decided to just go for it. After much mental debate I decided to return to old moor to see what was around. This turned out to be a well founded decision.
 So, after a smooth public transport transition I made it Old Moor without any bother at all. I decided to head straight to the main hide as the sightings had suggested that there was a med gull around, as well as numerous raptors flying through, so I decided to skip the feeders initially and head straight there.
This was also a well founded decision as soon as a I arrived at the hide the birders in there alerted me to a bittern that had taken off and was being mobbed by some gulls over the mere. It was not the greatest or longest view of a bittern I have ever had, but still great to see as it fly low and dropped down into the reeds. I had heard that a bittern was around but had not expected to see it so was very pleased.
I then asked the other birders if the Med Gull was around, and they pointed out the location. Such as it was I had two very good year ticks within 20 mins of arrival. I found the Med Gull, no issue and was able to watch it swagger around and even seemingly display to some of the neighboring black headed gulls. I was well happy to have got this bird. What was even nicer was that it was in summer plumage. I had expected a 1st or 2nd winter bird but this was a full plumaged adult. This was only my 3rd ever time seeing this species so I was well pleased with this
-Mediterranean Gull
Sadly the record shots were not quite up to the view down the scope which was the only downside. After a bit I began exploring the rest of the mere and found plenty of lovely wildfowl, as well as a third year-tick for the day: Oystercatcher, feeding on the far bank. There were many more birds than last time too, so it was generally a very pleasing time watching them all.
-Male wigeon
I scoured the rest of the reserve but found little that was not on the main hide, the highlights being the Goosander that were on the Wader Scrape.
After a bit I headed to the Tree Sparrow farm to see what was there, after all, last time I had brambling. This time there was not brambling, and there did seem to be fewer birds than last time, though there was a nice addition of Collard dove which I did not recall last time. There were the standard Yellowhammer too, always looking lovely and striking in the hedge.
Next I went to the feeders behind the shop, last time there were no birds on these at all, but I had read that there were some lesser redpolls hanging around so I decided to try and hunt them down. I did not have to wait long before one bird came on the feeders at the back. This is only the 4th time I have ever seen Redpoll, so once more was well pleased with these. Sadly though the view was very short and it did not return besides its short stint of around 2 mins. In addition  there were Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Collard Dove and Woodpigeon all rather close and looking really nice.
-Lesser Redpoll
After this stint at the feeders I decided to head round to the reedbed section of the reserve to see what was going on. Not much different, though there was a stunning Great Crested Grebe and good Shoveler numbers, more than elsewhere on the reserve.
While I was there something flushed all the gulls on the mere, I dunno what it was, but when I returned to the main hide to see if I could re-find the med gull it had sadly gone. One of the other birders though spotted a Dunlin fly across the mere, which was a year tick for me, so I decided to see if I could track it down.
I went to the Field Pool West Hide and had a look there, that's where it seemed to have gone. I did not have any luck initially, though I did find a Redshank, the first of the day and second of the year. After a bit longer though I did find the Dunlin and got some decent views of it feeding which was nice, and brought me up to 5 year-ticks for the day.
Finally I returned to the feeding station to see if the Redpoll had returned and was rewarded with not one but two redpolls and a lovely male Reed Bunting all on the feeders at the same time. So that was a wonderful end to a smashing day.
-Lesser Redpoll, Male Reed Bunting
And so finally I will end with a complete breakdown of all the species that I saw today in all their glory, and to tell you that as a result of today's remarkable birding my year-list is up to 80 species!

Day Total: Gadwall, Wigeon, Teal, Mute Swan, Goosander, Shoveler, Goldeneye, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Reed Bunting, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Magpie, Goldfinch, Black-Headed Gull, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Lapwing, Bittern, Cormorant, Tufted Duck, Canada Goose, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Pochard, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Stock Dove, Oystercatcher, Carrion Crow, Pheasant, Graylag Goose, Collard Dove, Yellowhammer, Long-Tailed Tit, Lesser Redpoll, Robin, Bullfinch, Great Crested Grebe, Wren, Dunnock, Common Gull, Redshank, Dunlin

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