Wednesday, 13 April 2011

What a Difference a Day (Week) Makes - Dinah Washington

Rain had been promised by the forecaster for mid-afternoon, so the earlier the start the better the outcome? The day was already overcast but relatively still , but leaving home just before 07:00 there was still a chill to the air while all that was found in the cemetery was a lone, singing Chiffchaff. Most birds were vocal today and even before reaching the kissing gate leading onto Radipole Lake this

Reed Bunting was singing from the reeds. It was not alone in this as both

Reed Warbler (my first of the year) and

Sedge Warbler where chattering away, seemingly in good numbers, while

Chiffchaff plus

Garden Warbler (another addition the the Year List) were singing from nearby bushes.

Before setting off for Lodmoor, there was a chance to admire the many early flowering Bluebells as well.

On the way to the next location this lorry, one of two, drove past and considering we were in Dyce at that time yesterday it was considered quite a coincidence to see them so far from home.

This male Chaffinch was first to catch my eye if only for the striking contrast between it and the soon to flower Hawthorn (May blossom).

This Wren was also performing a pretty decent solo, but a single

'second summer' Common Gull was content to simple watch the world go by.

By far the best bird of the day had to be the ever changing Long-billed Dowitcher which has to be one of the 'best value' rarities of recent years. It has been in the county for several months now, putting in appearances at 4 locations to my knowledge, allowing all to see and photograph it at close quarters. In recent weeks it has been moulting into an adult plumage, and I was most surprised to see what difference a week has made in this development. When it first arrived it could only be described as a dull 'grey' bird

but by January (this photo) it was developing some tinges of rufous to the wing feathers.

During February more colour was showing again on the smaller wing feathers (coverts and tertials).

My first sight of it today was to see it fly into the favoured pool and it looked like an orange ball,

while further examination showed just how dramatic the change has been over just one week. particularly to the under-parts. Let's hope it stays and shows us its 'true colours. Finally at Lodmoor, before leaving for Portland, a female Marsh Harrier put in a brief aerial appearance as my first

Common Whitethroat of the year started singing from a nearby bush. A brief stop at Ferrybridge in the hope of seeing the recently reported Little Tern drew a blank, in fact all of note was a single Shelduck plus a handful of Red-breasted Merganser.

There were a total of 3 Blackcap at Sweethill, this a male and this

a prospective mate? while at the Bird Observatory things were pretty quiet there too! A fluke Red-throated Diver, spotted by the Warden, was a bonus, but all else amounted to a

Meadow Pipit

caught by one of the visiting 'ringers'.

On the way home both Herring Gull and
Pied Wagtail presented such good opportunity

that a few shots had to be fired off. Here's hoping for a little more 'movement' and less rain (which did start in earnest as predicted) tomorrow.

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