Thursday, 11 April 2013

King Squacco Awakes!!!

Had a day out with King Squacco today, he has finally come out of his winter hibernation and had a target of a Smew and Garganey on the same day preferably in the same field of view, not much to ask for. After learning that the sea passage was very quiet we decided to start at the ARC pit. From the track to Hanson we managed to see the only red head Smew of the day(though 9 Smew were reported on Twitter this evening). A stroll around the Willow Trail found couple each of Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Goldcrest, several Reed Buntings, a Water Rail squealing, Cetti's Warbler chattering  and a brief flight view of a Bittern.
From the hide 4 Goldeneye among very few common wildfowl, a Great White Egret that dropped in front the Screen, a Raven flew over the pit and a Marsh Harrier patrolled the railway bank.
 Along the track to the pines and around the pits more Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers and Goldcrests, a Redwing, Green Woodpecker and 2+ Marsh Harriers.  
 Next stop Dengemarsh Gully. At the bottom a flock of c100 Brent Geese flew east but little else. On the way back up we stopped at the windmill and walked the Gorse where several more Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests were seen also a Firecrest, 4 Blackcaps and another Raven sighting. Parking at Springfield Bridge we made our way out to the Hayfield's where we failed dismally in our search for Garganey despite the fields looking excellent habitat, but we did see a few Ringed Plovers, Dunlin, Lapwing, Redshank and a Grey Plover. Reaching Hookers SB spotted a House Martin first of the year for me and more Marsh Harriers were seen displaying. At the back of Hookers the Black Necked Grebe was still present and several Cetti's Warblers were singing, 2 very high flying Marsh Harriers were calling and displaying, our first Sedge warbler of the year was singing by the track and some Tree Sparrows were calling in the copse. A Whimbrel  was in the field by the entrance track from where we saw 3 Great White Egrets, 2 Little Egrets and 2 Grey Herons that had been flushed from New Diggings flying together.
From Christmas Dell a Red-throated Diver could be seen, along the track yet more Cetti's Warblers, Reed Buntings, Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests. On New Excavations 2 more Black Necked Grebes among the Tufted Duck. Another search of the Hayfield's on the way back to the car again failed to find Garganey but did see 2 Swallows.
We ended the day at the fishing boats where 30+ more Brent Geese were seen, 3 Red Breasted Mergansers, 2 Mediterranean Gulls, 3 Sandwich Terns, a few Red Throated Divers, Kittiwakes, Gannets and 2 more Swallows came in off the sea. Coming off the beach 2 Northern Wheatears and 2 Skylarks were noted. The quest for Garganey and Smew the same day continues!  

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