Thursday, 7 May 2015

Orgreave Lakes

Its been a while since I was last on patch what with work and excessive twitching but today I dragged myself out of bed and headed over for a look to see what has changed. I set off at half 7 and arrived on site for half 8. Still reasonably early but I expected most things to have moved off or flushed by dog walkers. A twitter report of 7 whimbrel was of interest in the early morning but I expected these to have been long gone by now.
As soon as I arrived at the lakes I was mobbed by a pair of Lapwings. Initially I assumed there must have been a nest but then spotted 2 small dark bundles of fluff hunkering down in the sedge, so I quickly made my way past. I have to say, I am not optimistic for those chicks, as I imagine someones dog will probably make a meal of them. Of interest though, one of the adults pretended to be injured as I hurried past, which is the first time I have seen this behavior.
It was quiet to say the least, with numbers of ducks low and not much else around. There was a Yellow Wagtail on the island and spectacular numbers of Hirundines and Swifts, the latter giving a really good show as they whizzed past me all day. The only other birds with good numbers seemed to be waders, with 3 Common Sandpiper, around 13 Dunlin, 1 Ringed Plover, 4 Common Redshank and at least 5 Little Ringed Plovers.
-Little Ringed Plover
As I passed the plains I added Wheatear to my list but numbers of these seemed to be down on the last time I was here too.
However, all that changed when a dog walker letting his animal run free across the plains put up no less than the Whimbrels that had been reported earlier. I was surprised, and quickly went for the camera to try and grab a shot of them in case they flew off, but I had no reason to fear as they landed on the shoreline of the large lake, allowing me to stalk them as they fed on the bank and get some reasonable record shots.
As I got closer they moved over the crest of the hill and onto the far side. I continued on the path hoping to encounter them feeding on the bank there and get some more shots, but the view I had was even better as they had all lined up along the edge of the water, and some were even having a wash. This was pretty special. I got some great views and some pretty decent record shots of 8 Whimbrel. It would have been nice to get a shot with all 8 in at once but they were just too spread out in the end. 
They were fantastic birds and one of the best birds I have ever seen on patch. They are a patch tick and only the second time I have seen Whimbrel inland, so it was a good decision to come down to Orgreave today.
The Whimbrel flew back onto the plains at half 10. I had tried to avoid flushing them all day by going back on myself and avoiding paths they were close to, but in the end they just flew off. I imagine they will stick around all day now, and probably leave overnight. They certainly made my day

Species List:
Orgreave Lakes: Whimbrel, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Lapwing, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Common Sandpiper, Gadwall, Mallard, Canada Goose, Graylag Goose, Mute Swan, Tufted Duck, Coot, Moorhen, Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Wheatear, Yellow Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Common Whitethroat, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Black-Headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Reed Bunting, Kestrel, Blackbird, 

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