Saturday, 6 August 2011

Before the Rains Came!

5th and 6th Aug. Friday offered such a wonderful summer evening it would have been wasteful not to venture out, and with some decent birds being reported at Holywell I was pleased to be offered a lift down there by CS (Holywell Birding) who was accompanied by SW (British Birder). The area was attracting a number of local birders including Sedgedunum Warbler (pleased to met you John). My tick list of bloggers is slowly building although John assures me we have met before.

I was hoping for waders and a single lively Ruff soon obliged and hung around for most of the time we were in down there. It wasn’t long before the juvenile Mediterranean Gull was also found amongst the Black Headed Gull flock. It did take a little while longer before the Greenshank flew in (my first sighting of this species in 2011). There seemed to be no sign of the Spotted Redshank although it had been heard just before we arrived. One gent left to look for it at the Beehive Flash and low and behold it flew in minutes after he had left! It was in cracking plumage and the highlight of the evening for me.

Everyone was struggling to find the reported Black-necked Grebe. We weren’t sure if it had been an adult or juvenile bird that had been seen. We searched the East Pool for the Green Sandpiper, but never did find it. Grey Partridge and Snipe were found here and the Greenshank seemed to be spending time flying between this pool and the main pond. The East Pool has been looking as though it was ripe for throwing some more waders up and this has proven to be the case. I don’t think we will have seen the last of them!

Cain found a Wigeon amongst the Mallard and Pochard and the main pond held numbers of Little Grebe and gulls including attractive Lesser Black Backed Gulls. Grey Herons were also to be seen.

As the sun began to lower and a wind of change began to gather, we moved off towards the members hide. The cooler breeze was welcome after the humidity of the preceding days The object was to ensure the windows and door was locked. However Stephen, a serious twitcher in waiting I reckon, got his eye on what he thought might be the Black-necked Grebe. A quick look through the scope confirmed a juvenile Black-necked Grebe in front of the hide. A very nice way to end the evening as the sunset.

This morning I had the chance to visit Cresswell Pond with a friend from the local group. We hoped to arrive there before the rain did. On arrival I was told by someone just leaving that there was a Green Sandpiper. Great I thought, as I need that one for the year list too. Before going to the hide though we were entertained by birds feeding on the road to the farm and this included Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Linnet, Goldfinch, Pied Wagtail and Grey Wagtail. A Yellow Wagtail on the wires completed a set of wagtails. Also on the wire was Tree Sparrow.

There was no sign of a Green Sandpiper from the hide, and no one else in the hide had seen one. I added PA (Crammy Birder to the day list here). A Little Egret was showing nicely and it wasn’t too long before I found the Ruff. Other waders included Oystercatcher, Golden Plover, two-hundred and fifty plus Lapwing, Dunlin, Redshank, Common Sandpiper and Snipe. Apparently a Spotted Redshank had been reported earlier in the morning. One guy we got speaking to left to look for it elsewhere. Just like the previous evening, no sooner had he left and another cracking Spotted Redshank flew onto the sand bank, showing really well. Patience is the lesson I think!

I counted at least another four Yellow Wagtails to the left of the hide before the rains came. A Sedge Warbler flew in to land briefly in front of the hide and to the east side of the pond were numbers of Sandwich Terns and maybe three Stock Doves. By now the rain was heavy so we made off for a cuppa. Rain stopped birding, but we had spent a good hour and a half enjoying some good sightings. I’m certainly glad I wasn’t caught out in the deluge of this afternoon. It may bring in some good birds for next week.


  1. A very pleasant evening was made better when i was made aware that i had been sitting in the presence of a north east birding legend (Cain).LOL.
    Seriously though, pleased to meet you formally Brian and look forward to that trip out in the very near future. The birds weren't bad either.