A very early start on Monday found myself, Tony, Trevor and David Campbell (DBO assistant Warden) in Crecy Forest at around 07.30 where a reeling Grasshopper Warbler greeted us, followed shortly by Melodious Warbler, Short-toed Treecreepers, fly over Hawfinch. Nightingales, Garden Warblers, Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs Willow Warblers and more were singing throughout the forest, the Woodpeckers let us down though with none being seen.
We move on to Sailly Bray which was disappointing by its usual standards, we still saw several Turtle Doves, Black-winged Stilts, Cattle Egrets, White Storks, Song Thrushes, White Wagtails and more Nightingales.
At La Bassee pools the water levels were very high, 100s of Black-headed Gulls were nesting, a couple of Mediterranean Gulls, Cattle Egrets, a pair of Red-crested Pochards among the commoner wildfowl.
Next stop Marquanterre. As we got out the car David Campbell heard a Bonelli's Warbler singing the other side of the car park, which surprisingly turned out to be the first ever one to be recorded there.
Bonelli's Warbler Marquanterre car park
White Stork, Spoonbills, Little & Cattle Egrets, Grey Herons.
Around this superb reserve Spoonbills, White Storks, Little and Cattle Egrets were common place, Warblers were singing all around the reserve, Avocets, Black-winged Stilts, Greenshanks, Redshanks, Common Sandpipers, Whimbrel, several Black-necked Grebes, a semi resident Crane, Hobby's also Black Kite and Crested Tits around the car park. The downside to the reserve is the late opening time of 10 A.M. and the ridiculously small viewing holes in the hides which give you back ache or neck ache trying to view the birds, also they made it impossible to get our telescopes onto the Black Kite. The reserve is also very popular with tourists and schools, several coach loads of each were present while we were there.
Next stop a short distance from Marquanterre was a superb reed bed by the Somme Estuary which we found last year. Here we had great views of a female Montagu's Harriers, 2 White-spotted Bluethroats, Savi's Warbler, Great White Egrets, flights of Spoonbills, a Peregrine and another Black Kite! and more.
Our last stop was the Oye Plage area. Despite the very high tide we still found 2 Kentish Plovers and Little Terns. On the pools 100s of Sandwich Terns, tens of Avocets, more Black-winged Stilts, Black-necked Grebes, Spoonbills, 3 Ruff, Redshanks, Common Sandpipers and a Wood Sandpiper. A brilliant day out in excellent company ended with a respectable 124 species.