Spoons and Shovels

Finally got down to Farlington today, it seems ages since I have been there to have any time to do anything. Mind you I did not feel like doing much for the first couple of hours this morning, strong winds and heavy rain kept me firmly in the Building. Above the roar of the weather I did hear both Cetti’s warbler, fair enough they are loud and more surprisingly bearded tits, both somewhere in the reedbed.

Eventually it did brighten and I did a circuit of the reserve. Quite quickly I encountered the spoonbill in the field just north of the east wall blockhouse, I had managed to miss it on my previous two visits to the reserve.

spoonbill

spoonbill

It is a fine adult, snowy white and with a great fluff of head plumes and that trademark black bill with the spooned yellow end. I could not resist taking a few shots despite the poor light, I don’t often get this close to one of these.

spoonbill

spoonbill

spoonbill

spoonbill

There were quite a few brent on the fields, although perhaps not as many as last week, I could find the pale-bellied brent but there was no sign of the red-breasted goose. There were good numbers of other wildfowl as well, with lots of wigeon and shoveler making use of the many new puddles produced by the heavy rain. A pair of shoveler in the Point Field caught my eye.

shoveler pair

shoveler pair

It was a day for birds with alternative bill shapes, looking from the Lake out into the Harbour I saw a single avocet, later there were three roosting on a flash out near the Scrape. Also near the Lake was a lone female stonechat, the only chat I saw, I had hoped for a wheatear, they are due now.

My progress was then somewhat interrupted by needing to go and talk to a man with two dogs running across South Marsh, with lapwings now setting up territories this is just the kind of thing we do not want. He told me they were only chasing rabbits, not birds, so that was apparently alright! Unfortunately a small number of people acting irresponsibly can cause big problems and give those more responsible a bad name. He did leave eventually, but had no leads so the dogs continued to run fairly wild.

I went over to Southmoor and was pleased to see 10 dark-bellied brent geese and 3 curlew on the western field, which is slowly looking better and better. On the way back I realised there were a good number of brent on Farlington Playing Field, so I dropped in to count them. There were something close to 1000, although they were flushed before I could get a really good count, the short grass did allow me to get some colour-ring combinations though.

Returning to Farlington, I got a report of a “brown” shelduck roosting with the shelduck at the Scrape, I found the bird asleep, it could have been a ruddy shelduck, but something did not look right so perhaps it was a Cape shelduck, either way I don’t think it was a wild bird.

The only other sightings of note were a water pipit in the Hayfield and a report of what may have been a young glaucous gull flying down the Harbour.

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