Saturday, 26 April 2014

One out of two ain't bad

Late last night a flash went out on birdguides about a whiskered tern at Otmoor. Initially a possible it was later confirmed and reported as still present at dusk. Although the weather wasn't great i decided to go for it and not quite silly o'clock to let the rain clear. I stopped off at ML and had a quick look round but it was all pretty quiet so i headed off.
The car park at Otmoor was pretty full and the rain front had cleared over just about. It is a reasonable walk but after only a few hundred yards i met the first of a stream of people coming in the other direction. No sign. One bloke had even been down there since 4am!!!! I hung about for 30 minutes or so but it was pretty clear it had cleared off. The reserve was looking good though - reed and sedge warbler, common and lesser whitethroat, chiffchaff, willow warbler, blackcap, garden warbler all in full song. One or possible two cuckoos around as well.
My back-up plan was for another lifer - dotterel. These were about an hour away in Cambridgeshire at Black Bush. Despite being a bit tricky to find, i finally spotted about 10 cars down the end of a farmers lane. The birds were showing well in a ploughed field just down the track. It was one male and two females (or one female and a 1st cy male coming into plumage). They were always pretty distant and neither my lens nor digiscoping got good photos but hopefully these give a flavour.

The route home took me down the A1 so i detoured to Paxton Pits after nightingale. This is a very reliable spot for them and they have already been reported. When i got there the car park was heaving. Its a very popular reserve with RSPB-type groups and there were two coaches. Three birders were leaving and said nightingales were singing. It only took me about 300 yards to get the first one, and then another couple of hundred yards down one was performing well and showing in a bush by the path. I even took a recording of it on my iphone, which you can listen to here.

In a very un-nightingale way it showed half-well in the bush, helped by the leaves not being fully out so i could grab a few photos.
Last stop on the way home was at Tyttenhanger to bag the little ringed plover on the spit.
So, one lifer, two other year-ticks and 200 up even by BOU rules before May.