Sunday, 7 March 2010

Another weekend over...

Part One
I'm writing this while supposedly meant to be working. Two presentations and a report to finish, but it's sunny outside. Clerk of Works and her assistant have headed off into Plymouth, my credit card in hand to "give me some quiet" to work. So The Decemberists are on the CD player ("The Hazards of Love" - not quite as remarkable an album as "Crane Wife" but still pretty outstanding - and you can add Mistle Thrush to your "bird references in songs list".......if you had one....Corncrake also gets a mention but this appears on Billy Bragg's re-telling of "Hard Times of Old England" so doesn't constitute a song tick.

Siblyback yesterday was pleasant, with that air of expectancy you get in "pre-Spring". Goldcrests, Chaffinches and Goldfinches singing away, and that wait for the first Sand Martin or singing Chiffchaff doesn't feel so far away. A good sign of Spring's forthcoming return was the presence of 4 Great Crested Grebe, a couple of pairs of which now breed on the lake. Golden Plover have been notable by their absence from the pasture at the north end this winter, but yesterday over 2,000 were in the air over the northern fields. Best bird, however, was a Lapwing. Strangely, Lapwings are not frequent at Siblyback. I usually see one or two a year, in what one would think of as pretty typical wintering habitat. This one flew up off the northern shore. Tufted Duck count was 12, while Little Grebes are dwindling fast.

Later in the day we popped down to Hannafore. Tide was well out and an Eider and 3 Med Gulls were the only things of note.

Part Two

I gave up at about 2:30, convincing myself, half truthfully, that I had done enough work. It was still glorious but with a biting east wind. The light was fantastic so I thought I'd head down to Hannafore to see if I could get any shots of the Rock Pipits that seem quite tame at the moment. I find Rock Pipits at this time of year fascinating, as the range of plumages is really striking, as they begin to moult into summer plumage, and I'd had brief views of one yesterday which looked good for a Scandinavian. Anyway, I spent a good hour or so in a sheltered spot just enjoying the comings and goings of Pied Wagtails and Rock Pipits with a solitary Grey Wag. Now this is patently ex-birder behaviour - just enjoying common birds. I would once have scoffed at such patently ridiculous goings on. Anyway, my battery ran out just as the Pipits (one of which had been indulging in bouts of song) started to get used to my presence, but I did get a great opportunity to snap another common bird which was hopping around the rocks. Now just look at these and tell me Wrens are rubbish!

Other bits and bobs were 1 Slav Grebe, sparkling in the sunlight and the usual Eider. A Fulmar and Gannet were milling about aimlessly, but 5 Kittiwake seemed to be more intent. Still one Grey Plover hanging round.
PS: Clerk of Works was quite restrained - a coat for Assistant Clerk was the main purchase and very beautiful it is. It won't fit her however until she's at least three I reckon. Blokes just don't do this sort of forward planning.

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