Friday, 13 April 2012

The weather make all the difference

Easter weekend and the weather was wet and more importantly the wind was in the north. A couple of days later, the wind swings around to the south and the migrants pile in.
First wave was on Wednesday morning when were out bearded tit surveying. A singing sedge warbler (6 in the end) and 3 willow warblers gave a clue that a few birds had dropped in overnight. Next to be added and the least expected was a common swift west over the reedbed. This is the 2nd earliest record for the reserve and probably more amazing was the fact I still hadn't seen sand martin! That didn't last long a several small groups of swallows passed through including a couple of martins. An osprey west in the afternoon was the 2nd in a week.
With cloudy conditions and showers on Thursday were were expecting a fall of migrants. Sadly this didn't happen although I did add whimbrel (143) to the list. I had been in since 04:30 surveying bitterns so I was planning to leave early. We had been tracking 3 cranes down the Lincs coast but when they had turned and headed south over the Wash I headed off. From the gateways on the ridge you can get a good view over the reserve and the coast to the west so I stopped on the off-chance I could see the cranes. I was very surprised to see they were flying over Holme towards the reserve. I phoned David and raced back to get them on the yearlist. A couple of minutes later they were on the list (144)
The 3 cranes drifting off east.
Maybe not very obvious in this shot but the one in the bottom left was much smaller in the field and probably a female?
Now they would have been the highlight of the week if it hadn't have been for Friday 13th. Normally a day to stike fear into you but not today.
I was actually on the phone when the initial radio message came in and I could see people coming in to see if I was still talking. I knew something was up but not what it was. When I had finally finished the words 'black guillemot on the sea' were spoken.
'Are you sure' and several other words that souldn't be repeated were said and waterproofs were quickly donned. I could barely keep up with David and in no time we were watching the bird close inshore. It was moulting into summer plumage, the body was pretty black with the white wing patch but the head was still mainly in winter. Being a reserve tick for all and a Norfolk tick for many, there was a bit of a mass exodus from the office. Yearlist goes to 145, reserve list to 265 and Norfolk list 283. Short-eared owl and red kite made it a pretty good day.

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