Archive for February 11th, 2008

11th February 2008, Monday

The Sound of Spring…

…around here is the “Weow!!” of Med Gulls, at least 3 of which were with BH and Common Gulls between Pett and the Pannel Valley this afternoon. One blotchy-headed male was strutting around a presumed-female, neck stretched up, and making robust-yet-floaty circuits of the field, with occasional lunges at BH Gulls.
A Cetti’s Warbler was spluttering down in the reedbed, a passer-by put up a Little Egret from a small ditch and I couldn’t help thinking yet again about how things have changed. Back In The Old Days (Pete Rouse remembers these) there were one or two Meds gulls around in winter – never in spring and the odd Cetti’s turned up at the Pools between October and January – never singing. Egrets just weren’t on the menu. And the Pannel Valley was arable land with nothing much more than a few gulls.
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11th February 2008, Monday

Powdermill Reservoir

Not only is the water level still very high, flooding up into the willows, but many ducks have been spurred by the warm weather to begin displaying – also in the willows. So although a good deal of splashing, quacking, sneezing whistling and honking emerges from the tangle of waterside vegetation, it’s rather hard to get a look at the birds responsible. Once disturbed, they crash out through the twigs, split into groups and dash up and down the valley only half-visible through the canopy.
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11th February 2008, Monday

Pett Level

In bright spring (?) sunlight, full of thrush-song, almost the first birds we noticed were two Marsh Harriers tumbling about over the Pools. However on closer inspection one of them turned out to be a Raven, which made off past us westwards, snorting loudly.
Stonechat numbers remain high, with 7 just along the canal from Toot Rock to the Pannel. In the past, there have been fewer generally with peaks in Oct-Nov and only a couple left into the New Year.
Rough fields planted up with seed-bearing crops continue to draw in large numbers of Reed Buntings, a few Tree Sparrows and 6 Woodlarks. A mixed flock of Goldfinches and Linnets was also interesting, since the latter species is quite restricted in this area in winter. I’ve only seen one or two in my local Winter Atlas tetrads.
With little wind and good light, good views could be had of GC Grebes and RT Divers close inshore, as well as the clouds of Lapwings periodically rising from the marsh.