Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Abberton in Mid-summer

25th July 2015

Still very quiet on the migration front, but surely those hides at Abberton with the water just 5 yards outside will turn up something? In accordance with our self-imposed regulations we pulled up on the Layer Breton causeway for breakfast and a cup of tea. What was most astonishing was that despite the yards and yards of beautiful muddy margins, there was not a wader in sight!!

That was not until I found two Common Sandpipers feeding away on the concrete bank on the western side of the causeway, partially hidden by the vegetation. They were fairly skittish and very wary of anyone with a camera. However, a stealthy approach eventually produced rewards of this most uncooperative individual.

On the eastern side of the causeway a few geese were gathering on one of the islands exposed by the low water levels. Lots of sleeping, preening and bathing, and of course the compulsory wing flap from this Egyptian Goose, which must always be captured  for prosperity.

Although not much in the way of migrants today, there were a couple of newcomers, or to be precise a couple of returnees. This pair of un-ringed Red-breasted Geese were residents on the Layer Breton causeway during the winter and spring but then disappeared, presumably to go on holiday. However, they have returned to the same causeway but have jumped over to the road on to the eastern side. What spectacular birds with their minuscule bills.

On to the reserve now and there had be reports of a number of juvenile Swallows gathering on the verandah overlooking the pool outside the visitor centre. We were not disappointed and this particular individual was most friendly.

So now on to the hides in the hope of some waders walking along the shoreline just outside. There was indeed a shoreline, but instead of being no more than 5 yards from the window of the hide, it was at least 30-40 yards away because the water levels had dropped to the same levels before the improvement works. So basically if there had been any waders there, they would have been no closer than a year ago!! So we desperately need some prolonged heavy rain or the water company to raise the levels by other means.

On the return leg a Sky Lark was sitting on the back of one of the many wooden benches and appeared to be beckoning for us to get closer. It did eventually fly but was in no hurry and allowed one of those "drop-foot" shots to be taken.

But the star of today was the newly discovered Beach Kestrel Falco gravellii, which had obviously not read the rule book and spent a good 20 minutes running around after insects on the beach from the aptly named Hide Bay Hide. This adult female was ringed so had possibly been born in one of the Kestrel boxes in previous years.

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