Monday, 19 May 2014

Potteric Carr twitching Spotted Sandpiper

Yesterday at approximately 9.45 in the morning an adult summer plumage Spotted Sandpiper was found at Potteric Carr. Pretty special to say the least, but due to it being a Sunday and revision I decided not to go for it there and then, but to go after my 9.00 lecture on Monday.
I arrived at around 11 to the heartbreaking news that the bird had not been seen that morning, and since the reserve had opened early specially it seemed that the bird had cleared off, just my luck. I made my way straight to the main marsh to see what was around, on the way I encountered Song Thrush, a cuckoo calling but not seen and a Brimstone Butterfly looking lovely in what was glorious sunshine.
I arrived first at the hide where the  BNG's had been last time, but there was very little around today, a Whitethroat singing very visibly was probably the highlight. I made my way round the hide, not encountering an excessive amount but still plenty of nice things.
All the way round I had been surrounded by Damselflies, of the Common Blue, Common Blue-Tailed and Large Red varieties. However, south of the viewing screen there was a ditch and it was here that I encountered my first Dragonflies of the year in the form of a pair of Four-Spot Chasers. I tried to grab some photos but was unsuccessful.
The first hide where there was much of note was 'Roger Mitchell Hide'. Right outside the hide there were 4 lapwings and a flock of starlings feeding, so I was able to grab some pretty decent photos for the day, in case I encountered naught else.
But there was else, as I checked the island in the middle of the lake I observed a wader on the end that I was not confident was a redshank, at which it initially appeared. I grabbed some photos but the bird was too far off for a clear diagnosis, however my hunch told me that it was almost certainly a Greenshank. Sadly though the bird flew off while I was not looking, leaving me with a few photos on which to base my analysis. 
I need not have worried as in the next hide, 'West Scrape Hide' there were two stunning Greenshanks feeding right in front of the hide. Almost certainly the same one that I had seen on the other marsh. They were happy feeding, back on forth in front of the hide. I managed to pick up some great shots of this species which I am not overly familiar with. However, the true significance of this find is that it is my 150th species this year. So that made up for the lack of Spot Sand, the big 150...
After a while the Greenshank took off and landed on the far side of the lake, where they were difficult to see. I began looking round for other birds and spotted 3 redshank, a pair of shellduck and no less than 8 Ringed Plovers, a pair of which were sat right in front of the hide. Where the other 6 birds thought it would be a good idea to join them on the near island I got to watch a very territorial display from the original birds which was very nice to see. 
-Ringed Plover
West Scrape was where the spot sand was meant to be incidentally, but it was distinctly lacking in such species. After a while I decided to move on, as work would be waiting for me when I returned. I called in at 'Piper Marsh Hide' where the kingfishers were meant to be last time. And this time they were there, or at least one was, but it was some way off. Through the bins I got pretty decent views but the bird was very mobile, flying into trees and reeds so it was not often that it showed well except when it was in flight.
On the way out from the hide I spotted a very large and subtly colourful caterpillar on the path. I have done some research and reckon this is a Drinker Moth Caterpillar but I stand to be corrected should I be incorrect.
-Drinker Moth Caterpillar
 On the way round the 'Black Carr Field' I found one of the nicest surprises of the day when I spotted my first Long-Tailed Tit fledglings, or certainly the first I can ever remember seeing. Sadly I had to look up to it, but I was able to watch it being fed by the adult, but I did still get a pretty decent view so that I could see the brown face mask.
-Long-Tailed Tit fledgling
I decided to take a longer way round back to the entrance in case I could find a cuckoo. I could not, but did find Grey Heron and a very large Dragonfly Exuvia, of what I can't begin to imagine as there was no dragonfly species that large that emerge this early in the year. I would assume it was probably an early emerging emperor.
And thats that then. No Spot Sand but I managed to find my 150th species so I'm pleased. And the weather was good, and I was bitten and stung and covered in cobwebs and just generally beaten by nature, and the train copped it on the way home, but that's pretty standard really.

--150 SPECIES--

Species List:
Potteric Carr: Jackdaw, Dunnock, Great Tit, Black-Headed Gull, Jay, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Canada Goose, Moorhen, Wren, Shelduck, Song Thrush, Swift, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, Gadwall, Whitethroat, Mallard, Pochard, Willow Warbler, Great-Crested Grebe, Woodpigeon, Lapwing, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Graylag Goose, Reed Bunting, Oystercatcher, Magpie, Starling, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Cormorant, Greenshank, Shoveler, Redshank, Ringed Plover, Common Buzzard, Sand Martin, Chiff-Chaff, Kingfisher, Collard Dove, Long-Tailed Tit, Robin, Grey Heron, Blue Tit, Blackcap 
None Birds: Speckled Wood, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Red Admiral, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Orange Tip, Common Blue Tailed Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Large Red Damselfly, Four-Spot Chaser

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