28.05.15. Birdlog (200,000 BC)
After work and with big black clouds rolling in from the Atlantic it was in between sunshine and showers that we ventured out to the Weaver estuary to see the low flying Swifts performing the low flybys. There were in excess of 400 birds from the Weaver Bend all the way up to the Weaver Sluice gates.
A slight diversion on the choppy waters were 10 Great Crested Grebe, 100 Tufted Duck, Common Shelduck, Gadwall, Black-tailed Godwit and Oystercatcher. The energetic male Marsh Harrier was en route from one feeding duty to another
We flushed a female Cuckoo from the fence line by Redwall reed bed which flew out to the fields adjacent to No.5 tank. On our way back and just before the big black clouds released a downpour a male Cuckoo was singing from the corner on the field and close to the track we were walking on. After some careful positioning, a bit of tweaking and taking into the account the vegetation and hawthorn twigs we managed to secure some pics.
A little later we arrived at the area of the mitigation on No.3 tank which was a sorry sight and site. It looks all the world for a forgotten place with water levels quickly evaporating and with the exception of a few ducks an avian black hole. Perhaps, the constant passing of heavy machines with their resultant noise and dust have had their toil on the nesting season here? The initial area set aside for birds to breed and to roost was a reasonably good idea after public consultation but seems to have gone to pot! Those of us involved are going to have to pull our proverbial fingers out to make this area what was promised or else it will end up like the Shooters’ Pools…redundant for wildlife and grazing land for livestock!.
You can’t keep a good sludge tank down for long and the area of flooded water on the eastern edge of No.6 tank still supports a breeding pair of Grey Heron with a healthy population of both Tufted Duck and Common Shelduck, 8 Ringed Plover, a single Dunlin and 3 Lapwing chicks were notable for a tank that continues to give. The western edge of the tank is gathering water and should be an alternative viewing site if it continues to remain so.
A second batch of rain dropped a group of Swallows to sit out and preen on a dead tree close to the banks providing some opportunities for pictures to be taken. More Swift were zipping close over our heads.
Today saw a mini milestone on this blog with its 200,000 (BC) views since May 2012! …and the BC stands for Birds Count.
Video of Cuckoo here: https://vimeo.com/129183147
Observers: Emily Traynor, WSM (video and images)