Marsh Lane News - April 08
30th April 2008 - Mostly heavy showers and a cool south-easterly wind.
The first Garden Warbler was one near the entrance gate to the cottages. Common Sandpipers were up to five.
29th April 2008 - Sun and occasional showers.
No records in the log.
28th April 2008 - mostly sunny, occasional showers, modest south-westerly wind.
There was no sign of yesterday’s Sanderling this morning, with the only migrant waders being two Common Sandpipers. There was an estimate in the log of 200 mixed hirundines and Swifts and in the mid afternoon, although not that many, there was still at least 100, with perhaps 20 Swifts, 15 House Martins and the rest split fairly equally between Sand Martins and Swallows. Two Yellow Wagtails were present, in front of Car Park Hide, a Cuckoo flew along the Old Road and a Lesser Whitethroat sang to the rear of Railway Hide.
The first Hobby of the year was also seen, when it flew north through the Reserve in the morning.
27th April 2008 - Mostly sunny morning with increasing cloud and heavy showers in the later afternoon.
Today’s highlight was a virtual summer plumaged Sanderling which showed well all day on Car Park Pool, where it was joined briefly by a Whimbrel at 9.15 a.m. Common Terns were up to 15 and at least eight Swifts were recorded during the day. Other birds of note included Dunlin and two male Yellow Wagtails.
26th April 2008 - Mild, sunny spells, light south-westerly.
Whitethroats rose to five and presumably a new Lesser Whitethroat sang on the Old Road. Five Reed and three Sedge Warblers together with four Blackcaps were heard across the Reserve. Common Terns had risen to at least ten and yesterday’s Cuckoo was seen and heard again. A Peregrine flew over the A452, just south of the Reserve, at 7.50 p.m.
Dunlin were back to three, 56 Tufted was a noteworthy count, four Swift went through and the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker was seen again.
The warm weather resulted in a number of butterflies being seen and these included three Peacocks, a male Brimstone, two male and a female Orange Tips, and singles of Comma and G.V. White.
25th April 2008 - Mostly sunny, light south-westerly.
A variety of commoner migrants included the first Cuckoo of the year, yesterday’s Dunlin, four Common Sandpipers and three Yellow Wagtails.
24th April 2008
Heavy showers produced 80 Sand Martins, 50 House Martins, 10 Swallows and a Swift. Dunlin were back to one, Sedge and Reed Warblers were up to two. Ruddy Ducks jumped to five, four males and one female, a White Wagtail and two Common Sandpipers were seen on Car Park Pool.
23rd April 2008
A Common Swift flew over in the morning. A Whitethroat was around the car park hedges and a Lesser Whitethroat was seen and heard singing to the rear of Railway Hide. Three Dunlin on Railway Pool were different birds to the previous day. Common Terns had built up to eight and Yellow Wagtails dropped to two. Single Reed and Sedge Warblers continued to sing.
22nd April 2008
A Reed Warbler was new in, singing in the reed bed in the early evening. The Sedge Warbler was still singing to the right of Oak Hide. Two Common Sandpipers, two Snipe and a Dunlin were also seen.
Warmer weather produced the following butterflies - six Peacocks, one Comma and one Orange Tip.
21st April 2008
A Peregrine was seen, Yellow Wagtails were up to eight and Dunlin up to three. A Sedge Warbler was singing to the right of Oak Hide. A Jack Snipe showed well in front of Oak Hide in the early evening.
19th and 20th April 2008 - The cold easterly winds continued. Both days of the weekend were drizzly and overcast.
Notable passage today commenced with a fine Grey Plover at 9.30 a.m. It was coming into summer plumage and few waders at this year are more stunning than this species. Despite harassing from Lapwings, it remained on the Reserve until mid-day, though it moved from Car Park Pool to Railway Pool part through its stay. It was the fourth record.
By 1 p.m., five Green Sandpipers and a Dunlin had arrived and as the afternoon progressed, five Yellow Wagtails and two White Wagtails joined them. Of an estimated 200 hirundines, Swallows were in the majority. Common Terns were up to seven.
The first Whitethroat and Sedge Warblers of the year were heard on the top stream, with a second Whitethroat briefly by the underpass. The Nordic Jackdaw was seen on the flood plain.
18th April 2008 - Strong and cold easterly wind. Mostly cloudy.
Early this morning four Common Terns were present and a female House Sparrow fed on the car park feeder. House Sparrows are barley annual actually on the Reserve, although a small colony is present at Patrick Farm and there used to be one (not sure if it is still present) at the farm south of the lorry park. Their rarity proves how sedentary they are.
17th April 2008 - Cold withstrong easterly winds, sunny periods.
Two male Yellow Wagtails were present in the morning, but by lunchtime this had risen to five. A summer plumaged Dunlin was new in, and a trickle of hirundines progressed through the Reserve and north up the Blythe Valley. In the evening there wereat least 150 hirundines, roughly half and half Sand Martins and Swallows with a mere handfull of House Martins. Little Ringed Plover had risen from four to seven.
16th April 2008 - Cool and misty start, with the wind having veered around to the south-east. Some sunny periods.
There was obviously some passage today as two male Yellow Wagtails and two White Wagtails were present in the morning, with the former increasing at 2 p.m., to nine birds in total (eight males and a female). Hirundines in the morning included at least 15 House Martins, but there were none present at lunchtime. A Lesser Spotted Woodpecker was seen again by the cottages at 1.30 p.m. Three Common Terns were also seen.
15th April 2008 - Frosty start, sunny morning, cloudy and showery afternoon. Variable cool winds.
Seven Oystercatchers flew around the Reserve in a vocal flock as birds still seem to be establishing pairs. A female Lesser Spotted Woodpecker called repeatedly and showed well in the car park oaks at about 9.30 a.m., before flying off towards the northern stream line. A solitary Sand Martin flew through, going north, but there was no other obvious sign of migration. In the afternoon it rained heavily and stalled the hirundine passage, with 70 to 80 mixed birds in the evening, together with a White Wagtail.
14th April 2008 - Mostly sunny after overnight frost. Light north-westerly wind.
The only record in the log was of three Common Terms, though there were apparently two Common Sandpipers too. Other records were put on the West Midland Bird Club telephone line but not put in the log! Very irritating.
12th and 13th April 2008 - Cool westerly or north westerly, sun and occasional showers, some heavy.
A generally quiet period:
13th - A Common Term and Yellow Wagtail put in appearances and the former roosted on Railway Pool in the late afternoon. A scattering of Blackcaps (at least three) seemed to have returned to territory and two first Winter Common Gulls that flew through were relatively late. Three Herring Gulls circled over at 4 p.m. A rather subdued (in plumage) White Wagtail showed briefly on Railway Pool and a late Snipe was present east of the underpass, with forty Starlings. Little Ringed Plover were up to five.
When birding is quiet at Portland (see the Portland Bird Observatory Website) we tend to be likewise.
12th - A notable arrival of Willow Warblers saw at least eight recorded across the Reserve, though only three remained on the 13th. Fifteen Swallows fed along the Old Road in the evening. Redshanks were back up to eight.
11th April 2008 - Heavy rain and hale showers and occasional sunny periods on a stiff westerly wind.
Little change from yesterday, with the male Yellow Wagtail present again on Car Park Pool.
10th April 2008- Sunny with some cloud and showers.
Two Common Terns and a male Yellow Wagtail were present in the morning with the latter lingering into the afternoon. It is presumably the same bird over the last six days. A Blackcap was new in along the Old Road, and hirundine passage continued with one group of at least 25 Swallows.
9th April 2008 - Another frost and sunny morning but clouding over from about 11 a.m.
Early on, Yellow Wagtail, Common Tern and Green and Common Sandpiper were all present, but by 11 a.m. these had all moved on. Three each of Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler were singing and a Blackcap was audible from Siden Hill Wood.
Other waders included four each of Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher and Redshank. There were 16 Teal, 12 Shoveller, and Tufted Duck numbers had risen to 59.
Tree surgery continues along the concrete road.
8th April 2008 - As yesterday, but showery in the evening.
A (or the one from the 3rd and 6th) Yellow Wagtail was present for much of the day on the Car Park Pool islands whilst a fine male Wheatear showed around the car park in the late evening.
The evening hirundine flock comprised c.80 Sand Martins, 20 Swallows and a House Martin. The over-wintering Common Sandpiper is now being recorded daily and in the evening four each of Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers were spread across the two pools. Willow Warblers were recorded on the causeway and the railway.
The evening work party cut down the bushes behind Railway Hide that were hindering the view to the rear, excavated the ditch on the causeway and spread a load of planings along the causeway track. These still need to be rolled. Thanks to all those who helped.
7th April 2008 - Sunny and cool after overnight frost.
Four Common Terns were present for part of the day and ten Redshanks was an impressive count. The hirundines included five Swallows and two House Martins, whilst a Willow Warbler sang briefly by the cottages. A Raven flew over and a Green Sandpiper was present.
6th April 20008
Three inches of snow fell overnight but melted relatively quickly. It remained cold, with a light northerly wind, though it was mostly sunny with occasional snow showers.
Two Commons Terns were seen in the morning and one again in the afternoon. A male Yellow Wagtail was also seen. There were an estimated 60 Sand Martins later.
5th April 2008 - Mostly overcast. Wind turned to the North and noticeably colder.
The site's first Willow Warbler sang for a short while in the copse east of the wooden entrance gates and a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker flew over there.
What was probably yesterday's Common Tern and Wheatear both reappeared, the latter east of the underpass. The colder weather made the hirundine passage readily visible. The maximum count was 35 at 11am (six Swallows and the rest Sand Martins) but far more than that went through, including a few House Martins. Redshanks increased to nine.
4th April 2008 - Fine and sunny after some mist early on.
The warm weather brought out the first butterflies of the month with both Peacock and Comma being seen. The first Blackcap of the year sang rather half-heartedly behind Railway Hide at about 7.45 a.m., and later in the day a male Wheatear appeared on the crop field. By the early afternoon some Sand Martin passage had got underway, but birds were very high and difficult to count - perhaps about 10 initially, but with some coming and going. Upto 30 were seen later.
On the wader front, Redshank were up to seven but in the morning at least there were only singles of Ringed and Little Ringed Plover. The Common Sandpiper appeared again and four Snipe were present on the bank of Railway Pool. Two Ravens also flew over at lunchtime.
In the evening the first Common Tern of the year flew through and two summer plumaged Golden Plovers paused briefly on Railway Pool.
Further tree surgery is taking place along the concrete road, so please take note of signage.
3rd April 2008 - Wind moving to the north-west and getting colder, generally overcast.
Some passage today with the highlight being an early male Yellow Wagtail. This was first found about 12.30 p.m., on Railway Pool, before being driven off by a pair of Pied Wagtails. Fortunately, it reappeared on Car Park Pool and was still there at about 1.30 p.m. Both Swallow and House Martin went through at 2.10 p.m., and there was some movement of Sand Martins with a maximum count of 15. Little Ringed Plovers rose from two to five, with other waders including six Redshank, four Oystercatcher, three Ringed Plover, one Snipe and the overwintering Common Sandpiper.
2nd April 2008 - Light westerly, generally overcast.
Not a great deal of change. Four Common Gulls together may well be the last notable group of the spring. Ten Fieldfares flew over and there were still a couple of Redwings in the railway plantatio.
1st April 2008 - Blustery westerly, mostly sunny.
Yesterday’s Dunlin remained but only one of last night’s Little Ringed Plovers was still present. Two House Martins appeared briefly between 9 a.m. and 9.15 a.m., and three Swallows were seen near the Reserve. Later in the day six Swallows and an unspecified number of Sand Martins were over the pools and two White Wagtails dropped in on the islands.