Sunday, 31 July 2011

An hour at Arcot

After a slow start to the day at Newbiggin with only colour ringed Med Gulls to look at, myself and SH spent an hour at Arcot scanning the pond from the log on the southern shore.

No sign of the Water Rail steve had yesterday but amongst the mobile flock of Lapwing at the back of the pond was a single Dunlin.
During the hour we heard a Crossbill as it flew near to the west of the pond. Also a Green Sandpiper flew over and circled calling loudly but never landed.

106 - Dunlin

107 - Crossbill

Thursday, 21 July 2011

The beauty of having a local patch

Last night I went to West Hartford to check the flashes in the hope that something rare had dropped in. Water level was still good but no hoped for Pect Sand or any waders for that matter, but this didn’t matter as common bird was about to make my day.

I was on my way home when I got a much-appreciated text from JM saying that he had a Yellowhammer singing in the hedgerow near the substation.
This was only the fifth record of Yellowhammer at WH, and since I had missed one twice already this year at WH I was keen to catch up with it.
It didn’t take long for it to start singing this time from the hedgerow behind the entrance plantation.

At last Yellowhammer is on my West Hartford list, now just another WH mega to find, House Sparrow!

Sunday, 17 July 2011


Before going to Castle Island with SH and DMcK for WEBS this morning we checked Arcot Pond first.
There was no sign of yesterdays Green Sandpiper but a Common Sandpiper was on the mud instead. Also the juv Water Rail was out again in the SE corner.
The heavy rain had filled the pond slightly but still a good amount of mud remains. When we checked a quiet West Hartford I was glad to see that it has also filled up and looks very good for the coming months.

It was still raining when we got to Castle Island where 3 Common sandpipers were on the island amongst the regulars.

After the count we ended up taking cover in the hide at Cresswell for an hour. On the way to the hide a Stonechat sat on the brick wall near the car park.
A nice looking summer plumage Knot was amongst the Dunlin on the sandbar and the two Avocets were on the spit before flying off west.
3 Bar Headed Geese were still on the pond, 3 Little Gull on the sand bar and a Water Rail began squealing from the reeds in front of the hide.

On the way back we gave Beacon Point a quick look. 5 Red throated Divers flew south as did a single Great Skua.
No sign of any Roseate Terns but two Whimbrel were feeding on the sea weed at low tide.

105 - Common Sandpiper

Saturday, 16 July 2011


After getting two messages this morning saying that yesterdays Green Sandpiper was still at Arcot, I went for a look.
As soon as I checked the near bank in the SW corner it flew off and landed on the island at the back of the pond.
Apart from the Green sand and Lapwing there were no other waders but 5 Common Tern landed on the dead headgerow in the pond and began fishing.

104 - Green Sandpiper

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Yesterday Morning

I went out birding for what seemed like the first time in ages. I went up to Cresswell with SH first. On our way to the hide at least 3 Reed Warblers were singing from the reeds.
On the sand bar in front of the hide were 10 Little Gulls, which soon flew over to the spit on the left of the pond.
Also near the spit were a pair of Avocets, one of which was a large juv. A juv Great Crested Grebe and 5 Wigeon were also on the pond as were 3 Bar Headed Geese.

Next we went up to East Chevington. The north pool was relatively quiet but there was an adult Spoonbill on the left bank.
We also got good views of the Marsh Harriers including one fledged young collecting food.

Our last stop was at Arcot where the water level is at the best I have ever seen it. 3 Redshank were amongst the now permanent group of Lapwing and oystercatchers at the back of the pond. The long staying Little Egret was also on the back island.
Whilst scanning the areas of exposed mud in front of the reeds in the bottom SE corner I spotted a juv Water Rail walking out into the open. It moved from the edge of the reeds into the open water a few times before disappearing back into the reeds.

103 – Water Rail

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Will there be enough water?

I went to West Hartford for the first time since wednesday last night and in those few days all the water on the larger flash has gone. Only a small amount remains on the small flash.

Not much left

Also for the first time that I can remember at WH, someone has cut all of the grass behind the small flash along to the row of trees behind the substation. For grazing perhaps?

To be honest I wasn't at WH to check for waders but for Quail instead. There is a mile long stretch of Wheat/Barley fields between East and West Hartford. Nothing calling there last night unfortunately.

The only activity on the bird front was a Sparrowhawk chasing a Ringed Plover which managed to escape.

Perfect for a Quail

Friday, 1 July 2011


I went out yesterday morning with SH. Although it wasn’t WEBS we still went to Castle Island, as there seems to be a lot of activity there at the minute.
As soon as we arrived three Spoonbill were feeding in the water on the near side of the island. They soon flew off and landed on the middle of the island.
One of the Spoonbills was a juv bird and whilst the other two foraged amongst the grass on the island the juv bird stood on top of a pile of logs, making for a very strange site.
Whilst watching them further one of the adults began collecting sticks!

There was no sign of the Ruff or Green Sandpiper but we did see 2 Common Sandpiper, 42 Tufted Duck, 126 Canada Geese and 91 Mute Swan, and I said it wasn’t WEBS!
Also 9 Common Tern flew inland, they got as far as Stakeford Bridge before turning back and circled the island.

After a heavy shower we called into Arcot on the way back to see if anything had dropped in, it had.
Whilst driving past the SW corner I noticed something white in the water. When we got out we found it was a first year Little Egret.
As it fished it moved through the water and eventually ended up on the island in the NW corner but DMCK told me that he had it in the SW corner again last night.

Record shot provided by Steve

102 - Little Egret