Saturday, 19 April 2014

Prestwick to Patch and Urban Grebes

19th April.  Despite the brightness the air was chilled as I set off for Prestwick Carr this morning although it didn’t take long for the sun to offer some warmth.  I didn’t fancy facing the crowds at the coast today, so thought the Carr offered a far better option.  The song of Willow Warblers greeted me as I approached the bumpy road and all along that road and up past the sentry box Willow Warblers were around in large numbers.

One of many Willow Warblers
Common Buzzards also entertained form the outset of the walk and mewing could be heard at times.  The only other species of note on the outward walk along the bumpy road were Reed Bunting, Skylark and Meadow Pipit.  I did find my first Peacock Butterfly of the day and once the sun had warmed the air more Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Small White Butterflies were found

Prestwick Peacock

 I bumped into PF as I headed towards the sentry box.  He told me that he hadn’t heard the Redstart today which was a disappointment as I’d hoped to find it, but he had heard two reeling Grasshopper Warblers.  Two Grey Partridges had preceded PF down the path and they turned into the fields before reaching me.  A few Curlews were about and at some point I heard Redshank calling.  I kept my ears alert for the sound of reeling, but never did hear any from this path.  By now the Common Buzzards were showing well.

I spent quite some time in the area that holds the Redstart, but neither saw nor heard any.  It did give me time to take in other species which were about which included Canada Geese, Mallard, Moorhen, Swallow,  Kestrel, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Chaffinch and Goldfinch, and of course gulls, pigeons and corvids.  I found a Brown Hare and hoped that it was going to continue to run towards me giving a good opportunity for an image, but no such luck as it turned off the pathway.

On my return sat on the viewing platform to enjoy my lunch and wondered if anyone ever uses it.  I had only the overhead Common Buzzards for company.  As I continued my return walk I took a leaf out of Sam’s book and lay on the ground to photograph Red Deadnettle.  As I got up I was approached by a couple on bicycles that had I think speeded up their peddling in order to quickly reach me so as to give first aid.  I assured them I wasn’t quite in need of that!  I think they may have been a bit disappointed.

Red Dead-nettle.  If I hadn't stood up I think I may have received the kiss of life!
I stopped further along the road and as I looked north and watched a Grey Heron fly towards me reeling came from the sedges near to where I was standing.  I briefly caught sight of my first of the year Grasshopper Warbler.  I spotted a shape in the distance and when I put my bins to it I saw it was a Roe Deer, most of its body hidden.

After a good few hours on the Carr I returned to patch and took a walk around the lake.  Bit too much of a holiday atmosphere for my liking and the model boats were out in force.  I did find that the long staying Scaup was still about before getting my eye on the two Great Crested Grebes swimming together.  I was surprised to see both together as I thought by now they would have nested.  By the time I was down to the floating ‘thing’ I found the grebes at a nesting platform.  KH was there sat in his chair with an 800mm lens.  I think he’d been there most of the day and must have thought I was very lucky indeed to have arrived seconds before the birds mated on the nesting platform.  K informed me that another pair of Great Crested Grebes was on the smaller lake.  When I took a look over there I times it perfectly to find them displaying in the centre of the lake.  This ended my jaunt in the sun on a high.

The original pair of Great Crested Grebes

The floating thing remains closed to nesting birds.  I know a number of folk share my opinion of the Council’s action on this matter and hope they all share their views with the said Council otherwise our views will simply be ignored.  

The second pair of Great Crested Grebes end their display.


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