Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Change of Plan

Meadow Pipit
A change of scenery today as I decided to abandon my normal Tuesday visit to Brandon and headed off at first light for a walk around Draycote Water.

After parking at Thurlaston the walk down to the water in the dark had a calling Tawny Owl off towards the Gray's Barn area. Arriving a little early with very little light the first thing that struck me were the thousand's of Gulls heading away from their overnight roost, the first time I've actually witnessed this, but what an amazing sight.

A slow walk around towards Toft Shallows had the first calling, Lesser Redpoll, Fieldfare and Redwing overhead and by the time I reached the hide the light had improved sufficiently to allow a good scan of the large Tufted Duck population, sadly no Scaup amongst them! Unfortunately the serenity of the early morning was short lived as the first fisherman duly arrived and having kitted up made his way down to the waters edge, scattering everything in his path.

Now I'm all for everyone enjoying his or her hobby or favourite past time but purely from a selfish birding perspective I can see how annoying this is for the regular Draycote birder. By the time I left at around 12.30 several boats were out and at least two dozen fisherman were at the waters edge, scattering the birds from pillar to post!

Progressing along Toft Bank towards Farborough Spit, where a small party of C20 Linnet were feeding, accompanied by several Meadow Pipit and lots of Pied Wagtail, I settled for my first coffee of the day and a good scan of the water. No waders in sight with the exception of several Lapwing, good numbers of Great Crested Grebe and a selection of Black-headed, Common, Herring, Lesser and Great-black backed Gulls. Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Pochard and a ♀ Goosander in flight were also recorded.

♂ Goldeneye
I eventually arrived at a very sheltered and serene Rainbow Corner, after passing a very noisy Sailing Club area, where lots of contractors were on site. At Rainbow I came across my first decent Wader of the day when a lone and slightly late Greenshank gave itself up, constantly calling in flight but finally settling. This was accompanied by an eventual 9 Dunlin and my first Goldeneye of the autumn with several ♂ and ♀ on show.

I spent a very enjoyable 45-minutes in the pleasantly warm autumn sunshine with Tim Marlow who I'd not met in person before. During our chat a Peregrine came through heading south-west and visible migration produced C50 Golden Plover, a constant flow of Skylark and wave after wave of Starlings, well in excess of 500 by the time I left Draycote.

Also seen of note were a small Number of Little Grebe, a single Red Admiral butterfly and also worth a mention were the 14 Herons which suddenly dropped down in the ploughed field behind the Inlet, a very enjoyable visit.