Sunday, 12 April 2015

Botley Wood again and Blashford Lakes

In the hope that the first Nightingale would have arrived back at Botley Wood last night I started the day there with a pre-breakfast stroll. There had been a slight frost overnight but it was quickly thawing as the sun got higher. The Ravens were the most obvious birds when I arrived, one bird was sat on a pylon calling away, whilst the other roamed more widely. A couple of Bullfinch's were calling and Chiffchaff song was everywhere, well at least it appeared to be. 

Chiffchaff - Botley Wood

I took my usual route, taking in all the usual Nightingale territories, but not even a croak was to be heard. Several Blackcaps appeared to be paired up, and there was an abundance of Blackbird and Song Thrush, but yesterdays Willow Warbler appeared to have moved on. I walked all the way through to the Whiteley end and recorded several more Chiffs, Blackcaps and Bullfinch's and a single male Sparrowhawk, but that was about all of note. In spite of the early start there were a few butterflies on the wing, I recorded Brimstone, Green-veined White, Comma and Peacock, the individual below was perched high on a willow taking advantage of the sun.

Peacock Butterfly - Botley Wood

After breakfast I decided to head down to Blashford Lakes. There had been a few Little Gulls around the previous day so I was hoping to catch up with a few of them. I didn't have much time so headed straight for the Tern Hide for a view of Ivy Lake. There were loads of Black-headed Gulls present but I couldn't find any Little Gulls; I bumped into a local birder who had been there all morning and he hadn't seen them today either. There were however a few bits that made the trip worth while, 4 Common Terns were a year tick as were the two Little Ringed Plovers. I don't see LRPs very often so it was good to see them, and one bird was on the foreshore just in front of the hide. 

Little Ringed Plover - Blashford Lakes

The more I watched the close bird it became apparent that something was wrong. Rather than running it appeared to be hoping and was not covering much ground, certainly not in the way that plovers usually do. It would also regularly settle down and rest, which was quite unusual.

Little Ringed Plover - note broken leg

After while the bird turned around and it was then I noticed its right leg. The leg was either broken or deformed and was bent around 180 degrees so it faced backwards. It was also stuck at a right angle so that it didn't touch the ground but just pointed upwards. The bird seemed to be feeding OK and at one point it flew across a creek to the beach opposite the hide, it landed perfectly on its one leg and continued to feed along the edge of the water.

Close up of broken/deformed leg

Over the years I have seen loads of birds with dodgy legs and there was a one legged Redshank the frequented the beach at Hill Head for several years. Hopefully this bird will be able to survive despite its damaged appendage.

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