We knew that the black-winged stilts and the mediterranean gulls would have already left their breedings sites at Cliffe but Sally counted about 30 little egrets loafing around the edges of the pools. With the temperature just a fraction below 30 C we could perhaps be forgiven for imagining that we were in the south of France (well – almost!). It was certainly a day for hats.
Marsh harrier, kestrel and sparrowhawk stirred up the wading birds on the islands which helped us see more species than we might have done. Green sandpiper, common sandpiper, redshank, avocet and black-tailed godwits were put to flight – but for me at least, as always, the “best” birds on the pools were the greenshanks. So elegant yet so wild. But I couldn’t persuade those people with telescopes to work out the colour rings on the legs of one individual bird. Shame on you all! Perhaps it was too hot.
Another migrant that we found was this female dragonfly, the migrant hawker Aeshna mixta. However the highlight of the day was hearing an alarm call from a bird hidden deep in a bush. Most of us were quiet for a few seconds (it doesn’t happen often) – we heard the bird well, but what was it? Julie thought it sounded a bit like the scraping of a comb – a harsh mechanical sound. For some unknown reason I suggested it was a nightingale alarm call. Back home I found this link to a recording. What do you think?
Thanks to Sally for the photographs. And thanks to everyone that has joined us on our Tuesday morning walks this year. Next trip in April 2017!