Marsh Lane News - August 08
31 August 2008 - Warm, mostly overcast start. Prolonged showers in the afternoon and the evening.
Disappointingly quiet - Wigeon had increased to nine and there were still Lesser and Common Whitethroats on the Railway embankment together with a mixed Tit flock including at least a dozen Long-tailed Tits. Another flock of at least 10 Long-tailed Tits on the Old Road included some Chiffchaffs.
30 August 2008 - Humid and warm . Mostly overcast. Light south-easterly.
With the change in wind direction to the south-east the Midlands experienced some good Tern passage (62 Black Tern at Draycote, 20 Arctics and 2 Blacks at Shustoke for example). The action at the Reserve was limited to Commons, with seven juveniles pausing briefly on Railway Roof in the early morning. Subsequently four adults flew through and at midday 3 further adults and a juvenile were lingering though these, at least, were probably local breeders.
The first Wigeon (7) of the autumn arrived and the juvenile Pintail (now complete with tail) reappeared after 11 days absence.
Waders were limited to 378 Lapwing, singles of Common and Green Sandpipers and five Snipe.
305 Black-headed Gulls was the best count of the autumn so far.
30 Swallows flew through by 9.30 but other than 10 more lingering over Siden Hill Wood at lunchtime, the passage largely dried up. Four Grey Wagtails through, also by 9.30, seems to suggest an early morning bias to the day’s passage.
Warblers included a sub-songing Lesser Whitethroat by the top gate and at least 13 Chiffchaffs spread across the Reserve.
Finally, 220 Starlings was also the best autumn count.
29th August 2008 - overcast with occasional sunny intervals, still
Both Hobby and Peregrine were around in the early morning and waders included Green and Common Sandpiper. A Grey Wagtail flew over at lunch time and a flock of twenty Goldfinches were in the field behind Oak Hide. Reed Warblers were still much in evidence with birds visible along the causeway, by the car park and by Oak Hide. Three Whitethroats were also recorded with no location.
28th August 2008 - overcast but increasingly warm and humid, light westerly
Three adult Mediterranean Gulls were a particularly good find about 9.00am but they did not linger and nor did a Sanderling that appeared about 11.00am.
There was a report of an adult Whooper Swan which is probably more likely to be one of the hybrids that have been around for many years.
Noticeable movement of hirundines took place during the day with at least 45 Swallows passing through and four roosting in the reed bed, one of which was caught in the evening ringing session. Of the 18 other birds the majority were Reed Buntings but one Reed Warbler, two Sedge Warblers and a Starling were amongst the others caught. There were no re-traps
27th August 2008 - weather as yesterday.
Reed Warblers were feeding at least two young in the hedge by the record box and a Lesser Whitethroat called from the adjacent black thorn clump. Other Reed Warblers were also seen or heard by both causeway screens.
Teal totalled 13. The Peregrine flushed everything at 7.30am before it headed off towards Bradnocks Marsh.
26th August 2008 - mostly overcast, variable south westerly wind.
Two Hobbies and a Peregrine were seen regularly during the day, with one of the former mobbing the latter when it was perched in Siden Hill Wood in the evening. Assuming it is the same female that has been regular for some weeks, it has now acquired more blue back and wing feathers and looks much more like an adult.
A single Green Sandpiper was present for part of the day; also nine Common Terns, eight Sand Martins, Lesser and Common Whitethroat and Blackcap on the railway embankment.
25th August 2008 - weather as yesterday but windier.
None of yesterday’s rarer birds were seen again. A juvenile Little Ringed Plover was present early on but could not be found later. Two Pochards were new, two Ravens flew over and eight Common Terns remain.
At least ten Chiffchaffs were scattered around the Reserve as this species moves through in most habitats. Lesser and Common Whitethroats remain on the railway embankment. Peregrine, Water Rail (causeway) and 25 Stock Doves were other birds of note.
24th August 2008 - fine, occasional sunny intervals, variable south-westerly.
A particularly good day commenced with a female or juvenile Red-crested Pochard which was found mid-morning and was present all day, moving between the pools but by lunchtime settling on Car Park Pool.
Just after midday, Stuart Hares found a Grey Phalarope on Railway Pool. Bearing in mind the lack of severe south-westerly winds, this was an exceptional find and only the second for the Reserve. A juvenile, moulting into winter plumage, it flitted about the pool until above 3.30pm when it disappeared, quite possibly flushed by an Osprey that passed low over Railway Pool. Amazingly, this or more likely a second Osprey was seen about half an hour later, moving south to the east of the Kenilworth Road.
A good supporting cast included Peregrine, four Hobbies (a family party), 6 Snipe, Common Sandpiper and 10 Common Terns.
23rd August 2008 - a warm sunny day slowly clouded over with rain in the evening and overnight.
Today’s good bird was a juvenile Mediterranean Gull found with over 200 Black-headed Gulls on Car Park Pool. It was found mid-morning and lingered into the afternoon. Moulting into winter plumage, a number of grey back feathers were in amongst the brown juvenile ones. This is a typical date for the Reserve. The Lapwing flock was over 350 again (366) and other waders included a Common Sandpiper and three Snipe.
Plenty of warblers on the Old Road included at least six Chiffchaffs, four Willow Warblers and three Whitethroats. At least six Sand Martins flew through in advance of the evening rain. Five Common Terns drifted in and out during the day and the Greylag flock reach 353; a record this Autumn.
21st and 22nd August 2008
20th August 2008
Two Ruffs were a good record on another mixed day of sun and showers. 11 Common Terns represented a good late season count.
18th & 19th August 2008
A Pochard arrived on the 18th, but did not stay, but the Pintail / hybrid remained. Three Green Sandpipers and one Common Sandpiper were present on the 19th when three Hobbies hawked insects over Siden Hill Wood and a Sparrowhawk hunted the reed bed late evening.
16th and 17th August 2008
Teal and Shoveler numbers jumped on the 17th to 16 and11 respectively, a Greenshank appeared on the morning of the 17th, but departed before midday. Lapwing numbers are building up with regular counts of 300+, the juvenile Pintail remained with some concern as to its identity, possibly a hybrid?
Sunny spells on the 17th brought out some butterflies with Small Copper, Red Admiral, Peacock and Speckled Wood all being recorded.
15th August 2008
A juvenile Pintail was a somewhat unexpected site this morning on Car Park Pool where a single Common Sandpiper and a juvenile Redshank both remained. An adult Hobby was perched on top of one of the Conifers in Siden Hill Wood, and on the railway embankment Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Lesser Whitethroat were amongst a variety of birds present.
Only singles of Sand Martin, House Martin and Swallow had passed through by 8.15 a.m.
14th August 2008 - Sunny, initially, still but increasing south-westerly.
A Snipe fed out in the open with the Lapwings on the newly strimmed peninsula on Railway Pool early this morning, and a juvenile Redshank flew in to Car Park Pool, probably the “home bred” bird. A Yellow Wagtail flew over, one of the Little Owls called on the Old Road and Water Rails squealed from the causeway and the reedbed. Warblers on the railway embankment included adult Lesser Whitethroat, a pair of Blackcaps, Reed Warbler and two juvenile Whitethroats. A family party of Goldcrests, which fed in amongst a mixed party of Tits, were also joined by at least two Treecreepers.
The balance of the hirundines altered this morning with House Martins (12) out-numbering Sand Martins (10), though birds were coming and going all the time. Two Swifts flew through as well. Greylags were up to 325 and Shoveler to eight.
13th August 2008 - Sunny start developing into prolonged rain spells with a south-westerly wind.
Teal numbers have slowly risen over the last few days and there were eight this morning, but the only wader other than Lapwing was a single Common Sandpiper. At least three Chiffchaffs were widely scattered, and a Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, and Blackcap were present on the railway line.
Hirundine passage continues, with both Sand and House Martins coming and going. Between 6.30 and 7.30 a.m. this morning, for example, at least a dozen Sand Martins went through, with six House Martins and a single Swallow.
More activity later, with two Snipe, two Redshanks, ten Golden Plover and a juvenile Dunlin providing the most varied daily wader passage of the autumn so far. Other birds of note included five Swifts and a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker on the feeders.
A good turn out at the work party (8) meant that all the islands on Car Park Pool and two of the four major islands on Railway Pool were strimmed. Also, the Typha was cleared to the right of Oak Hide to open up the view of the shingle bar, which this morning (14th) is much reduced in size after last night’s rain. The roosting Common Terns were present again - at least 15 last night.
12th August 2008 - Heavy overnight rain, continuing into the morning and then showery, blustery south-westerly wind.
At last, a decent wader! A moulting summer plumaged Black-tailed Godwit was found on Car Park Pool about lunchtime, and was present for the rest of the day until it was seen to fly off at 8 pm. Initially it spent much of the time roosting in the vegetation on the islands, but eventually fed and showed well along the shoreline.
Three Common Sandpipers were present in the evening, and two Hobbies were seen on and off during the day. Common Terns seemed to be passing through during the day, but may have been local birds and 25 roosted on Railway Pool in the evening and were presumably the lingering breeding birds.
Sand Martin passage continues, with at least 30 birds passing through in ones and twos.
11th August 2008 -Generally sunny until rain in the evening and overnight.
Relatively little of note. A Peregrine was seen together with a single Snipe, whilst at least 60 Lesser Black-Backed Gulls and three Herring Gulls flew over.
8th to 10th August 2008 - Sunny intervals, showers, blustery south-westerly.
Thanks to Paul and Lee Johnson for keeping the log up to date over the last few days.
Few new birds to report, but passage on the 10th included at least 50 Sand Martins, 26 Swifts and three Swallows between 9.30 a.m. and 11.30 a.m. A few distant Finches were also on the move, probably Green Finches. Both Peregrine and Hobby have been seen over the last few days and two Snipe on the Car Park Pool islands, also on the 10th, were the first of the month.
The juvenile Redshank appears to have departed and with no Ringed Plover and Oystercatcher records since the 4th and 2nd respectively, Lapwings are the only breeding resident remaining. The post-breeding flock has now reached 300.
Common Terns are still being recorded daily, with up to 20 seen on the 8th and at least one juvenile is still being fed.
A few Warblers are on the move but breeders still remain, and the best places to see a variety of species remain the railway embankment and the top gate on the Old Road.
Other birds of note have included a juvenile Water Rail opposite Car Park Hide on the 10th, in the bank side rushes, and 66 young Tufted Ducks.
1st to 7th August 2008
A third pair of Mute Swans arrived on the 2nd, with two cygnets, the adults and one of the cygnets then disappeared leaving a lone cygnet on Car Park Pool. However, on the 7th, the two adults returned (without the second cygnet). A single Oystercatcher was also present on the 2nd.
The Grasshopper Warbler was heard reeling again on the far side of the river on the 3rd.
Numbers of Greylag Goose have increased greatly with a maximum count of 287 on the 5th. Also on the 5th, two new Little Grebe chicks hatched out on Car Park Pool. Teal increased from two on the 3rd to five on the 7th. However, Shoveler numbers have dropped back down.
Single Hobbies have been noted almost daily, with two (an adult and a juvenile) on the 5th. The female Peregrine was seen again on the 1st, 2nd and 4th. On the 1st, Warblers on the railway also included Lesser Whitethroat.
Ringed Plover numbers have dropped, with five birds present on the 2nd, two on the 5th, but there was no sign of any by the 7th. The juvenile Redshank remains, however is now moving between both main pools, perhaps a sign that it will soon depart.
Common Sandpipers have been present daily with maximum counts of four birds.
The sunny weather in the early afternoon of the 7th brought out at least 60 Common Darter and a Ruddy Darter on the Dragonfly Pool, with a Herring Gull passing through late afternoon.