Sunday, 27 April 2014

Orgreave Lakes - Avenged

Today is the last day of what has been an extraordinary Easter. Since its a Sunday my options as to where I can go, so I decided to go to my local path Orgreave, just to see what was about. The weather improved through the morning, until it was sunny and warm. That made it a rather pleasant walk. Sadly I slept through my alarm so when I arrived there were a too few many dog walkers around. However, there were also a few birders around, so I got to ask them what was around. 
The answer was not a lot, but I set up on main lake to watch. The highlights were a Wigeon that flew in, quite late in the year, and a pair of Little Ringed Plover right in front of me, so I was able to get some decent record shots.
-Little Ringed Plover
After a while I decided to carry on round, on the way flushing a Wheatear and watching Great Crested Grebes on the lake. However, near the outlet pipe I stumbled across a really stunning bird, one that I only saw for the first time this year yesterday. Indeed, it was a Yellow Wagtail, and far more sedentary than yesterdays birds, allowing me to grab a few photos. However, while I was watching it, it was joined by another Yellow Wagtail, the first time I have ever seen more than together.
-Yellow Wagtail
I also found a Pied Wagtail on the banks. I considered the possibility of getting a photo with all 3 British wagtail species in it, but I considered the prospect of finding a grey wagtail on this site was very unlikely...
A few meters up though I saw a wagtail with a grey back land on the bank. I considered it so unlikely that I would find a grey wagtail that I considered blue headed or channel before it, but indeed it was a Grey Wagtail. I was shocked, and impressed, the first time I have ever seen all 3 British wagtail species in one day. A first time for everything.
-Grey Wagtail
I continued round, though there were many dogs around which I thought would end all hopes of finding something. It did not however, as I stumbled across a rather bold male Wheatear near the path, bobbing around and hunting in the grass. Once more, when you see these birds it is difficult to believe just how stunning they are. 
I set up on the far side of where I had been. From my vantage point I could see 4 Little Ringed Plovers in front of me, and a few more Redshank. The Wigeon flew back in, though I did not see it leave. After some time my mind wandered off for a few mins...
I came back to find 2 terns on the lake in front of me. I panicked. I immediately went for the camera to grab some photos so I could identify them when I got back. I then tried to find them with the scope but I could not really get a decent view. From my position I would have said the streamers were too short, but I am not familiar with arctic terns so I could not say so. However, I then checked the photos while the terns were hunting up the far end.
From the photos; Shortish bill, no obvious black at the end, short neck and, most importantly black fringes on the underside of the wing. So then, I have, finally, on the last day of the holiday, finally found my Arctic Terns. The birds (there were 2) stayed on the lake for about 20 mins while they moved up and down the main lake, before heading off northwards. 
Having been over all week looking for these birds it was such a relief to find them, and on my own patch. And that I found them, so overall I probably would not have had it any other way. The only downside was that the birds did not land on the lake, which was disappointing, but I still managed a few decent record shots...
Que record shots:
-Arctic Terns
After they left I decided to head off to finish off my essay. However, I left having had a stunning day, finally finding some Arctic Terns and finding lovely Yellow Wagtails, a great day with great species found.

Species List:
Orgreave Lakes: Skylark, Reed Bunting, Starling, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Lapwing, Canada Goose, Graylag Goose, Sand Martin, Coot, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Little Ringed Plover, Mute Swan, Great-Crested Grebe, Black-Headed Gull, Meadow Pipit, Wigeon, Wheatear, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Swallow, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Yellow Wagtail, Redshank, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Kestrel, Linnet, Arctic Tern, Chaffinch,

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