First full day back in Sheffield and with nothing outstanding anywhere I decided to return to my usual patch of Orgreave lakes and hopefully pick up some stuff. A lack of motivation meant I arrive at 9.00 rather than any earlier, but while I was in bed trying to motivate myself I saw on twitter that 4 Egyptian Geese had dropped in to Orgreave that morning, as if more incentive was needed...
The day started hazy but it soon reached the heights of yesterday, with glorious sunshine. I quickly made my way to the small lake where I got chatting to another birder who told me all that was around. We then went found so we could see the far side of the island where the gyppo geese and the escaped Maned Duck were, the latter having been here for about a week now. The duck was easy enough to pick up on the island by its bizarre shape and obviously different plumage.
The Egyptian Geese were in 2 pairs that often kept apart. I was able to get some digiscoped shots of them on the island for purposes of patch and year-ticking records. I do quick like Egyptian Geese, despite their obviously being plastic. Last year I only had a sleeping individual spotted as we drove past so to actually see them for what they are was quite a result, especially on the local patch.
Then we moved on to some real birds. The Little Ringed Plovers were still on the bank where they had been last time I was here but this time I was able to find them on the deck, largely helped by the bird choosing to sit on top of the ridge. As a result I was able to try and digiscope them, and finally got a reasonable shot of the species where all its features are clear.
-Little Ringed Plover
Not far on from that we stopped to chat to another birder. While we were chatting I picked out the female Pintail on the small lake, another patch tick, though the SBSG describes it as from suspect origin, so I may end up loosing this one.
All along the walk I had been told there was 1 Wheatear on site, but it was at the far end. No sooner did we reach the far end and with a quick flash of that white rump did we refind the superb male Wheatear. They are my favourite bird, as there is simply no bird that looks as good as this (In my opinion) on the British list. Fab! And my first this year. The only downside is that I did not get one on Soil Hill. Sadly it was never overly approachable and so my shots were all distant and not ideal.
Perhaps the most surprising yeartick of the day was Willow Warbler. The birder I had been walking with had said he had heard one singing near the river, and as we approached the river we heard it again. It took some finding as it was well tucked in, but find it we did and I even managed a record shot, though its pretty awful. The call was delightful to hear though, showing that migrants were finally starting to arrive again.
Other birds on site included 3 Common Buzzards flying away over to the east, which were a patch tick for me. Also of note were at least 2 singing blackcaps along the riverside but I could not see one, as they were tucked well in on the far bank. They are the biggest miss of my 2015, so it would have been nice to tick it off too but not to be.
Overall it was a smashing 3 and half hours on the site in glorious weather with some smashing birds. Not a bad way to return to my patch!
Orgreave Lakes: Linnet, Egyptian Goose, Maned Duck, Oystercatcher, Goldeneye, Willow Warbler, Great Tit, Common Buzzard, Lapwing, Redshank, Robin, Reed Bunting, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Kestrel, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird, Gadwall, Goosander, Mallard, Long-Tailed Tit, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch, Carrion Crow, Black-Headed Gull, Canada Goose, Graylag Goose, Mute Swan,Coot, Moorhen, Teal, Great Crested Grebe, Magpie, Dunnock, Pintail, Wheatear, Cormorant, Little Ringed Plover, Comma, Peacock, Orange Tip, Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone,