Friday, 25 March 2011

Pennington Flash

When I got home from work tonight the sun was shining yet again and so Sarah, Cathy and I went for a stroll round Penny from the Slag End car park end for a change.  The first birds we saw were some Skylarks singing and displaying high up in the air before dropping down to the grass on Ramsdale's Ruck.  They were very difficult to spot even with binoculars, but their song was incredibly loud and tuneful - wonderful!  A solitary Great Crested Grebe was in the Lagoon water neat here, but as it was diving frequently it made viewing quite difficult.

As we approached the Flash I used my scope to view the Spit and here we saw the following birds:
  • Oystercatcher
  • Great Crested Grebe
  • Teal
  • Cormorant
  • Black-headed Gull
  • Coot
  • Tufted Duck
  • Canada Goose
  • Mallard
We then walked round to Ramdale's Hide where there more of the same birds on the Spit as well a single Redshank and some Lapwing.  I looked for the Little Grebe that I'd seen here earlier in the week, but didn't find it tonight.

Then we walked on to Tom Edmonson's Hide where there were four Grey Heron, some Shovellers, Teal, Tufted Ducks and a large goose in amongst the Canada Geese which I am yet to identify.  It may be a Bar-headed Goose, a Greylag variant of some kind or a farmyard escapee.  I asked a lady birder who was also in the hide but she wan't sure either.

By now I could sense that Cathy was getting bored, which she indeed said out loud to Sarah hoping I wouldn't hear. And as the very cold wind blew in off the Flash through the viewing slats at Horrocks Hide, I knew they were coming to the end of their session with me.  In fact they only stayed about ten minutes before heading back to the car, arranging to meet me on the main car park about half an hour later.  This was a shame because I really wanted Sarah and Cathy to see the birds closeup at the Bunting Hide feeding station where Cathy could take some photographs, but it wasn't to be. They did manage to see three Redshank close up before they left here though.

As soon as they'd gone I spotted the Black-tailed Godwits at the end of the Spit through my scope, as well as a single female Goosander and all the birds I'd seen earlier from the other side of the Flash.  I was joined by the lady birder who I'd met at Tom Edmonson's Hide earlier and I showed her the Godwits thorugh my scope as they were a little far for her binoculars to pick out.  After a quick chat about the lack of Great Crested Grebes here for this time of year, I left for my last stop tonight at Teal Hide.

I did pop in to Pengy's Hide on the way to Teal, but there nothing much about.  At Teal Hide there were more female Goosanders and a single Male resting on the shell island in the middle of the water, as well as all the regulars. But the main event was quite unexpected: 30 to 40 Sand Martins were whizzing around over the water presumably picking off insects in flight.  They were quite a spectacular sight in the early eveining sunlight.

No sooner had I got there than a warden drove up to lock up the hide.  I told him I'd only just arrived and wanted to look for the Ringed Plover and Green Sandpiper that had been reported here this week.  He very kindly said he could drive round and lock all the other hides before coming back to this one at the end - nice bloke!

I spent another 10 minutes trying to take some pictures of the Sand Martins, but the light was fading and they moved very quickly. so no pictures worth displaying today I'm afraid.  And I never did find the Green Sandpiper or Ringed Plover either, but all in all I'd had a very pleasant session.

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