Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Swanwick Lakes and Manor Farm Country Park

Rob and I had a planned ringing event at the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust's Swanwick Nature Reserve today (15th April) so we decided to check out the area the night before. We were planning to ring in the north-east meadow and had identified some areas that looked good for a net ride and put up some feeders to attract a few birds in. We cut in three net rides with enough space for four 18 metre nets and left each one open for a while. It was a worthwhile exercise as it turned out because we caught 21 birds, eight each Great and Blue Tits, two Wrens, two Marsh Tits and a Robin.

This morning we arrived on site at 05:45, it had been a clear night and was colder than expected. We hoped that there might be some migrants around, but our first bird was one of the residents, a female Great Spotted Woodpecker. The event went very well and the attendees were able to see Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs, Great Tits and a Goldcrest close up.

Female Blackcap - Swanwick Nature Reserve

After our ringing event had finished Rob headed back with the group to check out the moth trap, whilst I kept an eye on the nets. I continued to catch birds and by the end of the session we had ringed 19 birds, six Great Tits, three Chiffchaffs, two Blackbirds, two Blackcaps and single Great Spotted Woodpecker, Wren, Dunnock, Goldcrest, Marsh Tit and Coal Tit. Over the two sessions we had ringed 40 birds of 12 species so a good quantity and mix or species.

Marsh Tit - Swanwick Nature Reserve
Coal Tit - Swanwick Nature Reserve

Later in the afternoon, I decided to pop down to Manor Farm Country Park for a spot of birding. My intention was to try and find Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, as I had heard them there recently, but at this time of year there is always the chance of something else. As it turned out I stumbled across a Lesser Spot straight away, and so spent the rest of the time generally birding. Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs were present in good numbers and as I worked my way around the fields I picked up my first Common Whitethroat of the year. I headed into the woods, working my way to were the Lesser Spots bred last year; I did not find them but did find a breeding pair of Marsh Tits hanging around their nest hole.

Marsh Tit - Manor Farm Country Park

After a while I headed to the estuary in the hope of a Whimbrel. It was very busy on the water so the only wader was an Oystercatcher, along with four Little Egrets and a few Black-headed Gulls. I decided to head home and started working my way back to the fields; as I did so a Red Kite drifted overhead, my second patch year tick of the day. I passed the area where the Whitethroat was, it was again in full song but was now only giving brief glimpses. As I approached my car I noticed a chat sat on the barbed wire fence around the overflow car park. I was expecting it to be a Stonechat, which would have been a good bird, but it was in fact an adult male Whinchat, so a truly exceptional bird. It was fairly approachable and perching on prominent places as they do. A cracking bird and my third patch year tick of the afternoon.

Whinchat - Manor Farm Country Park
Whinchat - Manor Farm Country Park

Back at home, I decided to sit in the garden and go through my pictures. I had only been out there a couple of minutes when I heard the distinctive mewing call of a Mediterranean Gull, and there above the garden were two adults. Although it wasn't a patch year tick it was a nice species to end the day on.

Adult Mediterranean Gull

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...