Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Orgreave Lakes

After yesterdays disappointment and the weather being still being pretty unfriendly I decided to postpone my trip to see the greaterlegs and stay local. I was keen to get back to the patch after a month away, that month being when there had been a dearth of wader species coming through. Having missed them all I was keen to get down and see how things had changed.
I delayed out of bed due to the weather being less that brilliant early on. Though the wind did not drop during my visit it was less cloudy and rainy. The cloud cover was ever changing but things looked good. All the leaves on the trees had fully come out since my last visit, and the grass had grown up around the paths, so it now felt very summery.
There were good birds around and I started with a patch tick of Song Thrush, though the view was very brief, though I did see it again on the way back too. The swifts were on point again, flying low all around so I could even hear their wing-beats, as well as skimming across the water.
I kept an eye open for waders, especially sanderling as there had been a few knocking about over the last few days. I picked up Redshank and Little Ringed Plover on the southern side of the small lake. On the northern side of the small lake I landed my second patch tick of the day. I scanning the bank I picked up 3 small waders. The first 2 were clearly Dunlin with their dark bellies but the third bird was a very nice Sanderling. It was not red, it was a much greyer bird than I imagined it would be. In flight the white on the wings stood out a great deal compared to the dunlin, but sadly that flight was when it moved from the small pool and onto the large lake. Sadly I only managed a couple of record shots, as the birds were distant and moving way.
I moved over the crest to check out the large lake to see if I could pick them up again. I was impressed by the numbers of wild flowers. The real stars were the large Southern Marsh Orchids which were dotted around the eastern side of the lake.
-Southern Marsh Orchid
I got chatting to a couple of birders around, before I re-caught my quarry. This time there were 2 and one was a much redder individual than the one I had seen earlier, the other bird was probably that very same bird. Because they are so small and the grass was so tall I struggled to get any photos as the digiscope could not work out the difference between grass and Sanderling. However, as I waited they eventually settled in a position where I could get some proper record shots, and my efforts and not bad if I don't say so myself. 
Having them settled where I wanted them I also tried a little video. Not going to lie it looks like an earthquake is taking place but maybe without the wind I might have been able to get a decent video but instead I ended up perfecting the shaky cam technique. Anyways, I have included cos why not...
-Sanderling

video
-Sanderling
There was plenty of other stuff too, including 41 coots and 31 mute swans. I only saw 1 swallow which felt a little odd. The Swifts performed spectacularly all morning, whizzing around at incredibly close quarters. So a very nice return to the patch after so much time away. Hopefully I will be able to get down a few more times before I have to do my field course.

Species List:
Orgreave Lakes: Linnet, Goldfinch, Mallard, Dunnock, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Song Thrush, Lapwing, Kestrel, Swift, Black-Headed Gull, Redshank, Mute Swan, Cormorant, Tufted Duck, Coot, Skylark, Little Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Great Crested Grebe, Sanderling, Gadwall, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Reed Bunting, Meadow Pipit, House Martin, Sand Martin, Great Black-Backed Gull, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Whitethroat, Sparrowhawk, Swallow, Feral Pigeon, Oystercatcher, Common Blue, Speckled Wood

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