Sunday, 27 March 2011

Patch Tick and More Migrants

On Friday evening I went down to Marton Mere after school to see if any migrants had dropped in over the past few days, and as 17 Sand Martins had been seen the previous evening I was hopeful of picking up a year tick or two. Arriving at the west end it was immediately obvious that the number of Chiffchaffs present had increased with at least 4 singing birds present in a small area. I spent 45 minutes or so at the viewing platform situated at the west end of the reserve which gives a view down the whole lake and surrounding reedbeds, as this is usually a good area to see hirundines arriving from the south. Two Cetti's Warblers either side of the platform gave sporadic bursts of song but mainly remained silent and skulking as they so often do, however there were no sand martins to be seen from here so I moved round to the Fylde Bird Club hide. Mark Farrar was already present in the hide and pointed out a few birds that were present, but nothing out of the ordinary. Another Cetti's Warbler was calling next to the hide and 4 Gadwall were feeding in the shallows allowing me to get a good view of these rather handsome ducks. A trio of Barnacle Geese looped down onto the mere from nearby Blackpool zoo where they spend their day feeding on the short grass which has been cut for the visitors, 20 birds in all flew in before dusk. Paul Ellis then arrived in the hide and quickly announced that there was a snipe on the scrape before quickly changing his mind and exclaiming "Jack Snipe"!. I didn't have my scope with me but thankfully Paul let me look through his scope to see the Jack Snipe (yeartick) bobbing up and down on the edge of the reeds, very reminiscent of a common sandpiper. Ash had asked me to text him if anything turned up so I told him what was there and got a quick reply of "I'm on my way". It was at this point that I picked up a single Sand Martin (yeartick) over the back of the mere, which was quickly joined by a second, then a third, all the way up to 8 birds in total feeding together, a sure sign of spring. Ash and Aaron then turned up and we managed to get them onto the Jack Snipe that had moved a bit further into the reeds, along with a couple of Common Snipe that were showing uncharacteristically well out in the open. Since the light was starting to go I headed round to the north side of the mere in the hope that the Little Owls would come out onto the barn roof, which typically they didn't; however a Long Eared Owl flying over me towards Lawsons wetland whilst I was on my way home made up for this.

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