local-patch

I spent a couple of hours at my local patch of Stanwick Lakes this morning. I was hoping to catch up with some more spring migrants as Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Swallow and Little Ringed Plover are more or less it for me so far. It was a sunny but cool morning.

As we neared the site a large grey bird, flying, caught my eye and I stopped to check that it was a Grey Heron and not an Osprey – it was, but you never know, you know.

From the car park, in the direction of Sand Martin bridge, there was a … Sand Martin … just the one, and it took a while to be sure that, at that distance, it really was my first Sand Martin for the year rather than my second Swallow. Not a bad start, although I’ve usually seen lots of Sand Martins by now. Chiffchaffs singing everywhere so surely there should be a Willow Warbler too today.

To show that spring starts as winter ends, there were three Bramblings wheezing away near the barbecue spot – not a common bird for this site, but it seems like a good Brambling year.

Plenty of Blackcaps singing and one bird with a very scratchy song in long phrases that in a few weeks time I would have said was a Garden Warbler but would have been a very early one. Maybe it was but 10 minutes trying to glimpse the bird failed to produce anything except a silhouette in the bushes so I gave up.

Lookiing over the main lake provided no more hirundines, no Common Terns and not much else. A chat with Steve and Bob was reassuring that they hadn’t seen anything stunning yet either. So we all had a bit of a moan and then cartried on birding. Surely there might be a Sedge Warbler in, or a Willow Warbler near, the reedbed? Neither.

Across the causeway and a look at the layby pit – nice view but agaqin no hirundines and no waders either.

Walking back to the car park and a stop at a bench looking over the Black-headed Gull colony produced a lot of Bhgs but also, as happens, a Mediterranean Gull, adult, flew over my head and provided an easy spot with its white wings, big beak and larger black shading on the head. One didn’t need binoculars but I watched it for a few more minutes as it circled around in the melee of Bhgs.

Back to the car park and another look at the Sand Martin bridge area revealed two Sand Martins flying around together but no other hirundines or much else. A Buzzard was the 47th species of the trip and so I stood up to head back to the car when I looked up and saw a raptor getting some attention from a gull and it was an Osprey. Good views as it flew over the visitor centre lake and then moved on to the main lake where it hovered a few times. My first for Stanwick (and, might I say, long overdue).

But spring seems a bit late this year – do I say that every year? there have been a smattering of migrants but I’d expect to have heard or seen Sedge and Willow Warbler, and Common Tern, at least by now. Still, an Osprey is always a good bird to see. What will tomorrow morning bring? Or maybe a quick look this evening? Spring – it uncoils bit by bit.

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