Thursday, 5 March 2015

Cast Your Fate to the Wind - The SANDPIPERS

Yesterday's plan was a 2 prong attack, but not before early morning coffee where once again there were a couple (or maybe that should read 'cuppa') of  guests. The first was both uninvited and unwanted, as it is thought you have seen enough of Harlequin Ladybird, but the other was a most welcome
(a Micro)
which missed landing in the full coffee mug by half an inch.
Part I of the plan, like Sunday which was focused on the North of
Parley Court Farm, was to pay as much attention to the more Southerly latitudes.
 Such walks invariable start at the 5th Fairway which runs alongside the
where overwinter there has been a semi-resident
often flushed from underfoot on the left bank it then scurries, wings flapping,
to the sanctuary of the waterlogged roots of that fallen Willow Tree on the other side.
 An unfounded theory has had me thinking that when water levels rise here this
tiny bird decamps to Parley Pond but disproved today as this one is now in almost
full summer plumage.
 In the opposite direction c3
 were perched in wait and
were logged along with 50 or more Fieldfare, about half as many Redwing
with their combined total being well outstripped by Starling.
With the total absence of
over the winter period it may be inevitable they would start showing up
mob-handed, so the c8 on the
 Flight Pond
seemed expected.
amounted to c8 animals
No wonder we have seen so little of the c4 juvenile
raised on Parley Pond, they too were hiding on the flight pond.
A brief appearance of a
doubled the Spring Mammal List.
 which was hanging about one of the many Horse Paddocks
while close by was a
A cacophony of Herring Gull calls could be heard distantly and peering through
the hedge it could be seen that there was the potential for a record count, 
so a little stealth would be called for if indeed a close approach was to be made,
but there was still some way to go.
That's when one of the
came bounding across the field
totally unaware of my presence behind one of the Duck Blinds.
We thought we'd bore you with the full 8 frames as this is undoubtedly
the best opportunity we have ever had to capture this creature so
fleet of foot.
It certainly went thorough the full repertoire.
Finally rounding the last hedge the Gulls came into view and luckily
I had bought my own 'hide' along. Having just stacked the bale so
not to scare the birds
this CANT-ERER, cantered across the field
putting the whole jolly lot to flight.
It was going to be task enough to count them on the deck
so now what chance as they dispersed in all directions?
and to make matters worse they began strafing my position.
there were considered to be between 250 and 300 with
c3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls among them.
There was an apology from the lady rider once she realised what I
was doing, but she had as much right to be there as me!
Just as we were about to finalise the deal on selling the
'Gadwall Gazette' to Rupert Murdoch, having been absent from
Parley Pond for a few days, they were re-located at the Manor Pond.
Efforts were made to make images there but they took to the wing
only affording this shot.
These sunny days are magical as 'EVERYTHING' is starting to
prepare for the breeding season ahead, not least dozens of
with 'winter' flocks seemigly dispersing,
singing their head's off as are
I don't mind getting theories wrong, particularly when that means another bird,
so was extremely pleased to find the 'other'
on Parley Pond where it was also notes that Coot numbers are now up to 5.
are drilling away all over the place, but just try photographing one.
No, best place for that is a quiet 10 minutes wait at the Harbins
bird table and who knows what might turn up?
Having just about exhausted the potential of the Southern Sector
it was time to address Part II of the mission.
It is absolutely, unequivocally certain that there are c4 Green Sandpiper 'overwintering' on the Farm, but what was potentially a 5th seemed to have appeared over the weekend along the banks of the Moors River. During this first part of the wander the 2 semi-resident birds in the waterlogged south west field, known as Mash, were at home so now it was just a short drive 'up North' to see if the others could be found. It was also decided as they had been so vocal thus far, to count any
that might be up that way.
It can be told that over the afternoon a total of c22 hit the log.
All that was found at the
Irrigation Pond were a couple of
There was no signs of a Sandpiper along this beat of the Moors but
 it was noted that the
is now becoming far more prolific, plus it has been discovered that the
are Poll Dorset
and amount to 200 Ewes and 300 Lambs and the 2 'Greens' were still behind Eco.
That's 4!
 A little further along it was found that the
is also in full bloom
 attracting its share of Insects such as this unidentified FLY
and this
and on the way back there was the 'wanted bird' in company with 2
Greylag Geese.
There, I told you there were 5.
It was only some kind of instinct that took me onward to the Sewerage Works
scanning all the gravel strewn puddles,
 such as this on the way. My stopped position here was between the
2 lots of trees, and where a small movement was detected at the waters edge. 
was between me and the sun so after a few shots, at a distance, it was
thought an attempt should be made to relocate.
 The little darling didn't even flinch
 as an almost 270° arc was made to gain best position.
 These are but a few of the shots taken, as you
 might imagine once at 'point blank' range,
 but though being as I have had to put up with them
 then so should you!
 Our Loyal Followers.
 After this photo shoot a return visit was made to
 check the other 3 which were all at the original site
and feeding contentedly.
This conundrum has taken almost 4 months to resolve, but of course it is not known if all 6 have been here all that time. However, to have such a count on this 1,000 acres, a mere postage stamp by comparison to the rest of the County, then how many must be overlooked or inaccessible??
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