Tuesday 6 May 2014

The pits are alive....

...with the sound of music. Apart from an amusing diversion to Portland on Bank Holiday Monday, my birding over the long weekend was dominated by warbler song around Wareham. Reed Warblers were the most numerous, with 47 singing males around the perimeters of the Bestwall reserve and the main gravel pit at Swineham.
Sedge Warbler: the song is often said to have a jazzy feel compared to the more rhythmic percussion of Reed Warbler. This one was also indulging in some enthusiastic song-flight.
Reed Warbler: last week most of the singing Reed Warblers remained unseen. This week they were more showy - perhaps getting a bit more desperate among the fierce competition at Bestwall.
Reed Warbler - backlit in the early morning light at Bestwall

Male Blackcap
Next most numerous among the warblers was Cetti's, one of our rarest nationally. 20 of these noisy chaps had me jumping out of my skin with their aggressive blasts from largely unseen songposts. Sedgies seem to be having a good year (11 singing males), while a few Blackcap (6), Chifchaffs (3) and singles of Whitethroat and Willow Warbler added variety.
Cetti's Warbler - defying the Cetti's Warbler rulebook by giving any view at all
Reed Bunting also numerous at the moment - 10 singing males around Swineham

This Long-tailed Tit was not long out of the nest
Warblers weren't the only interest on the patch though: a pair of Whimbrel defied the Whimbrel rule-book by flying conveniently over-head for some photos; the first Swifts of the year entertained with screaming displays; and trios of Garganey and Egyptian Goose added a touch of class and trash respectively.
A touch of class: two of three drake Garganey I saw at Swineham this weekend
And a touch of trash: Egyptian Geese at Swineham

I fancied finding a rare heron in the reedbeds this weekend - but Grey Heron and Little Egret were the only ones in evidence.
All in all a timely reminder of my good fortune in having all this on the doorstep. And probably the best bird of the weekend went unseen by me, but was heard by some of the Poole Harbour night-owls: a Spotted Crake singing in the Wareham area. Best not to ask what they were doing out at that time of night...
I don't know my snails but this one has some intricate markings
Sedge Warbler

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