Monday, August 11, 2014

Bertha Delight

With ex-hurricane Bertha passing through over the last 24 hours I thought I'd pay Draycote Water an early morning visit in the hope that something decent could kick start my search for early autumn migrants. I'd managed a couple of Greenshank at Brandon Marsh on Thursday but had been disappointed to miss a brief fly-by of seven Black-tailed Godwits yesterday morning and so was keen to get back on track.

Juvenile Common Tern from Fridays brief visit to Draycote Water!
Arriving at a very bright and blustery Draycote just after 8:30am I made my way up the bank for a first scan of the water, in fact I was just behind John Judge who'd arrived a few minutes earlier. The first notables of the day were Little-ringed Plover, several Swift in with the many hirundines and decent numbers of Common Tern out towards the centre, a Yellow Wagtail also called as it flew overhead.

While John and I were chatting away I'd called a juvenile Black Tern passing through. However, while following in the scope a second bird caught the eye, which John was already on to and had immediately called Sabine's Gull, what a cracking find and unmistakable really with it's bold upper wing pattern and whats more, in adult summer plumage! Great timing from Keith Foster, who appeared almost immediately and after getting him on to the find it wasn't long before we got the word out. In fact Richard Mays and Dave Cox had also dropped onto the bird as they were returning from Rainbow Corner. Unfortunately, despite being in view for around 45 minutes and settling on the water several times, it never quiet came in close enough to shore for a decent photo attempt. Sadly the bird departed before most birders arrived, last seen heading out towards Rainbow.

Adult Spotted Flycatcher with recently fledged youngster!
After coffee in the Draycote centre I made off for Napton-on-the-Hill, arriving just before Richard, Dave and Paul Cashmore. I was still keen to connect with an immature ♂Common Restart Richard had seen several times over recent days. I'd failed Friday when we visited and was disappointed when Richard rang on Saturday morning to tell me it was back, this when I was off visiting the Black Country Museum. First birds of note on this visit, at least a half dozen Spotted Flycatcher adult and juvenile, in fact it seemed only recently fledged. Also recorded in this small sheltered area, Willow Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat.

Common Restart - A trio on the patch today!
More Spotted Flycatchers with over 10 in total during the visit and then finally Common Redstart but not Richards immature male! This one a lovely female, followed by a second and then finally yes the immature male, cracking stuff, three Redstarts on the patch! As we tracked back to the cars a couple of Kestrel, a single Sparrowhawk and to end a superb 'patch' birding day, a brace of Hobby!!