Sunday, 26 June 2011

Summer Patching

Although I can't claim to have put back-breaking effort in to local birding over the past week or so, I have been doing quite a bit of walking (with and without dog) at local sites, and have consequently seen one or two half-decent birds. For example, I did a 13-mile walk the other day north from Bourne and up around some local villages - best birds were a Spotted Flycatcher at Grimsthorpe and five Crossbills in Bourne Woods, both new this year for me (don't see many of the former at all).

The patch has been very slow, and feels very lazy indeed. The gull colony is less busy than it was a few weeks back; compared to other sites (locally and nationally), the BLGP colony always seems to have a much earlier average fledging date and, with the sheer number of juveniles present this year (300+), I can only assume it is a sign of a very healthy colony indeed. Most juvenile Black-headed Gulls are well fledged and in various stages of maturity. Some still look like they have just fallen out the nest, being very brown and possessing very stunted primaries. Others, such as the individual below, are more advanced in to their first moult:

It's disappointing to see that few of the waders appear to have had a successful year (though still early days). However, there are a few fledged Lapwing chicks about so it's not all doom and gloom. Perhaps related is the persistant presence of several Lesser Black-backed Gulls; most are adults which appear to be prospecting the site (as they have done for a few years now but no confirmed breeding), but there are some immatures also, such as this second-summer:

One or two ducks are beginning to turn back up now. A flock of three Shoveler were present in the evening of 20th, with the first two Gadwall back on that date. The Gadwall 'flock' has since risen to three, and a drake Pochard is also back with the moulting Tufties. The Red-crested Pochards are starting to gather to moult (looking a bit grim now). This family of Mute Swans is on the workings on the north side:

The weather is beautiful today; I still haven't had any Quail despite there being loads at sites further north - perhaps tonight will be the night.

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