The weather was a bit of an issue with thick fog making it difficult to motivate myself or find any birds. It was also bitterly cold so got 6 layers on, and still was struggling to keep warm. By late morning thought the fog had cleared and it came out in glorious sunshine. The 6 layers suddenly went from hero to villain as it became quite uncomfortable, so when I returned for lunch I dropped many of them off. As it would happen, but 4.00 the sea fret had returned.
So what birds were around at that time? The Dunlin were on mass, as were Redshank and Grey Plover. There was also a couple of Knot in and the usual Sandwich Terns, and of course the Little Terns. As the morning progressed and the Dunlin started to move out a pair of godwits came in. After a bit of inspection I decided there was one Black-Tailed and one Bar Tailed. After much deliberation with myself I announced proudly down the radio about the Bar-Tailed Godwit, though it had since flown off south. I even got a reply, asking to confirm my sighting! How exciting is that.
The rest of the morning passed without incident. I had to speak to my first civilians, asking them to keep away from the perimeter fence. As you can expect I was quite apprehensive about this, but after the first time it became easier and by the end of my shift had told about 5 people that they needed to move away.
In order to break up the 12 hour monotony I decided to leave lunch at home and go back for it at around 12. On the way back I decided to call in at the pools I had found the night before to see if the darters had come out. The weather had picked up considerably and as such there were plenty of Odonata including Emperor Dragonflies, Black-Tailed Skimmers in abundance and Emerald Damselflies, which the warden had mentioned with some pride. Alas though there were no darters to be found at this point.
I returned to the hide to complete my shift. Because of the nice weather there were lots of insects around in the dunes, and on my lunch trip I had picked up my macro lens to capture some on camera. Besides the beetles and moths there were also good numbers of butterflies: Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small Skipper, Small Heath, Large White, Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral. The insect species I photographed included 22 Spot Ladybird and Brown Tail Moth, as species I have never seen before
-Brown Tailed Moth
-22 Spot Ladybird
As the afternoon wore on the sun continued to beat down until the fret came in again and the cool returned. Initially it was a struggle to see the birds due to heat haze, but then the fog came in. The afternoon was not a good time to be watching the birds. I did see both Oystercatcher chicks along the lagoon edge which were truly lovely, as well as good numbers of Little Tern Juveniles (8 at max I counted), including an juvenile being fed by an adult. I tried some more photos today, but the best I got was one having a wash on the beach on the way back from lunch
As my shift drew to a close the days waders returned from their days outing. There were good numbers, including a good 30 Bar Tailed Godwits, so much for radio worthy. There also came 10 Black-Tailed Godwits, numerous Grey Plovers, including some in summer plumage, and the obvious Dunlin in excess. Among the Dunlin was yet another individual that look suspiciously like curlew sand. Bigger, bill longer and curved, no black belly, brighter facial markings. The only thing against it was the fact that it was grey rather than buff. Once more, despite the overwhelming evidence, I am reluctant to tick it due to the fact that I was unable to see the white rump. However, since I am here for the next few weeks it would seem likely that one day I will get a decent of one where I can see the white rump…
-Bar Tailed Godwits with obscure bird (6th from right)
I left at around half 5, with the ‘curlew sand’ still fast asleep. The fret had become really bad at this point and the number of things in sight was greatly reduced. I checked the ponds again but they were dead, only a Sedge Warbler to cheer things up.
And that is where we shall end it for today. Tomorrow I get a lie in, as I am not on the day shift. It does mean though that I will be out until 5 am doing the night shift. Right now the prospect of a lie in is all that’s keeping me going regarding that prospect!!
Beacon Ponds: Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Little Tern, Sandwich Tern, Arctic Tern, Common Tern, Bar-Tailed Godwit, Black-Tailed Godwit, Shelduck, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Cormorant, Dunlin, Knot, Redshank, Little Gull, Black-Headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Woodpigeon, Skylark, Swallow, Linnet, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Sand Martin, Mallard, Meadow Pipit, Whitethroat, House Martin, Dunnock, Blackbird, Shaded Broad Bar, Brown Tail Moth, 6 Spot Burnet Moth, 22 Spot Ladybird, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Small Skipper, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Small Heath, Emperor Dragonfly, Blue-Tailed Damselfly,
Warren Ponds: Meadow Pipit, Sedge Warbler, Magpie, Rabbit, Ringlet, Meadow Brown ,Black-Tailed Skimmer, Emperor Dragonfly, Common Emerald Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly,