I had no real plans for today, the 2 sites I had been desperate to check out I had done and so I had today off pretty much. Due to the consistent levels of arctic tern at Anglers where as other sites had been less consistent I decided to head there to see what was about.
It cost me an arm and a leg in public transport but I arrived in good time and raced to the hide in order to avoid missing anything. I need not have rushed, as all the birds I saw there stuck around for some time after I arrived. The first thing I did was to check for arctic terns, but there were none. There was a Common Tern however, perched on one of the rocks there, quite close.
Other birds included a sleeping male Goldeneye, Gadwall and a summer plumaged Dunlin, as well as Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Tufted Duck, Teal and the usual suspects. As I waited though a lovely pair of Common Sandpiper flew in. I got really good views, and then one started to have a thorough makeover, washing and preening right in front of the hide.
After a while I decided to up sticks and go to Wintersett Reser and see what was on there. As I arrived 2 terns were leaving, but from what I could see they had short streamers and a wider rump, so they were a pair of Common Tern. The only other birds of note were a Great Crested Grebe that I got pretty decent views of and a Whitethroat that sat out from the brambles to sing for a little while. There was also an Orange Tip butterfly, which continue to be around in good numbers.
I decided to spend the rest of my day at the hide on Anglers. It was a wise decision I feel. I got to enjoy more views of the Common Sands and of the Dunlin. There were also plenty of Hirundines about, but as I continued my scanning of the skies I picked out some much blacker birds in the sky. Indeed I had found my first Swifts of the year, and they were in good numbers too, at least 10 possible more.
Buoyed by that I continued to watch. The common tern from earlier had left by now. However, after some time a tern fly over the lake. Naturally I wondered if it would be an arctic but extensive photo work has revealed them it to be a Common Tern.
I was very close to calling it quits by now. It was early afternoon and I still had public transport to face. However, just as I was contemplating departure another birder walked in. In my wisdom I decided not to go as I would look like I was avoiding them, and that they may potentially have some information. He did not provide the latter but keeping me there certainly had its up-sides.
I stayed about 40 mins longer than I had intended to, and after half and hour we were joined by another pair of birders, these ones being proper Anglers birders through and through.
There continued to be a lack of change, but then out of nowhere a small bird appeared flying above 2 Starlings, and all 3 were dropping in front of the hide. Immediately I though it was a linnet, but as it left the starlings I realised what it was, and the other birders did too (though I called it the loudest). Yes, it landed on the edge of the nearest island as a stunning Yellow Wagtail, only my second ever, and much closer than the bird last time.
However, to say the view was brief would be an understatement. It lasted less than 10 seconds before the bird took off again. However it was enough to get a proper view and and some decent photos of it.
I spent about 15mins after that, but the only thing to add was Curlew to the list. Overall it was a really enjoyable day, the weather picked up and I picked up 2 great year ticks to make up for the lack of arctic terns. So now to conclude here is your species list from today.
Anglers CP: Dunlin, Common Tern, Oystercatcher, Canada Goose, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Willow Warbler, Lapwing, Coot, Robin, Rook, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Teal, Jackdaw, Sand Martin, House Martin, Swallow, Great Crested Grebe, Reed Bunting, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Goldeneye, Carrion Crow, Pied Wagtail, Feral Pigeon, Swift, Goldfinch, Yellow Wagtail, Bullfinch, Linnet, Kestrel, Blackcap