Thursday, 23 September 2010

Pec'd to death

A slight upturn in the weather has done wonders for the birds again in the last 24 hours. Yesterday we got the shout that 11 black tern were on the O reservoir. They had flown by later that day, but had been replaced by 14 pintail which had moved in to replace them on D.

Also about yesterday were the marsh harrier, two common buzzards and a number of curlew and lapwing.

Earlier in the week regular photographer Vince Cowell popped in and got these great shots of a kingfisher levitating a stickleback and a swimming grass snake in North Marsh - for more visit his site:

This morning saw the return of two black terns to D res which showed well for several observers including Michael Flowers class - no doubt pictures to follow on his blog tonight.

However a gentleman kindly popped in to the centre to say the always nice to hear "you've got an interesting bird on your marshes" - which turned out to be a trans-atlantic pectoral sandpiper. This is the first bird since 2007 and will likely be one of the best to visit the reserve this year. Elated we put the news out on Birdguides and amongst the regulars, and Michael and a number of others were lucky enough to observe it.

Unfortunately when I arrived camera in hand at South Marsh East I met two of the regulars who informed me a sparrowhawk had attacked - the pectoral was with a green sandpiper as the hawk passed overhead. In the melee it is unclear exactly what happened, but the hawk appeared to leave carrying a wader whilst the green sandpiper certainly escaped onto the river - it would appear highly likely that this was the end of the juvenille pectoral sandpipers trip to the UK. A subsequent search failed to find it.

I will hopefully have photos from others to follow - as I was literally two minutes too late!

Pictures of both the black tern and pectoral sandpiper courtesy of HVWG 20:00hrs:

The rest of the day saw two cream crowned marsh harriers, kingfisher and black tern sightings but little to replace the sandpiper. Hopefully the North Easterlies will bring something anew in...