Posts Tagged ‘Lapwing’

SS Waverley approaching Gravesend

SS Waverley approaching Gravesend

Friday the 7th saw Keith and I boarding the SS Waverley for a trip along the Thames from Gravesend to Tower Bridge. Whilst nature watching was not the prime reason for taking the trip we were hopeful that we might see some good wildlife along the river banks.

Mute Swan

Mute Swan

The Thames marshes although annually decreasing in size and ever under threat from development are one of the prime natural habitats of the region and this was an opportunity to see them from a different viewpoint.

Swanscombe Marshes

Swanscombe Marshes

From Gravesend we travelled upstream past Swanscombe Marshes, currently the site of  a proposal to build a theme park, towards Dartford. Passing under the bridge we passed Rainham Marshes (an RSPB nature reserve) on the north bank and Crayford and Erith Marshes on the south. Beyond these we came to Thamesmead, once marshes but now a housing development.

Rainham Marshes RSPB Reserve

Rainham Marshes RSPB Reserve

Although we did not see a huge number of species and sadly no migrating birds of prey, skuas or terns as we had hoped, there were plenty of duck including a party of Eurasian Wigeon and a single Pintail plus good numbers of Northern Lapwing and Black-tailed Godwit on the mudflats. We also found some common seals lounging on the mud-flats at Crayford Ness.

Common Seals

Common Seals

Ducks feeding on the waterline

Ducks feeding on the waterline

Greta Cormorant

Great Cormorant

Northern Lapwings

Northern Lapwings

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)

 

 

Rutland Water Nature Reserve

Rutland Water Nature Reserve

A fine clear morning saw me heading north from London in the company of the local RSPB group bound for Rutland Water in Leicestershire. This would be my second visit this year as Sue and I had stopped off here on our way to Northumberland during the summer, but this time I would have more time to explore this wonderful place.

Rutland Water is a large reservoir opened in 1976 to store water for the East of England. It has since become a major watersports centre and also a wonderful place for wildlife. It is impossible to visit all the potentially good areas in a day as the reservoir and surrounding land covers such a vast area, so our trip today would concentrate on the area around Eggleton, where there a number of small lagoons which have been managed to provide different habitats.

Rutland Water Nature Reserve

Rutland Water Nature Reserve

A visit to the hide overlooking the feeder station (in the hope of seeing Tree Sparrow), but only Great and Blue Tits, Chaffinch and Goldfinch are present.

Chaffinch (f)

Chaffinch (f)

I make my way south towards Heron Bay visiting a couple of lagoons on the way. It seems very quiet and only a few Herons and Egrets along with Lapwing and Gadwall are present. Reaching Lagoon No 5 there are at least 8 Little Grebe present and a party of 10 Barn Swallows pass over on their migration.

Northern Lapwing

Northern Lapwing

 

Little Grebe

Little Grebe

 

Little Egret

Little Egret

Heron bay is busier with large numbers of Great Cormorant, Mute Swans, Gadwall and Canada Geese present. One interesting sight is a platform with the remains of an Osprey nest. Rutland Water is one of the few sites in England where the Osprey nests and the water authority have provided a number of platforms around the reservoir for them to build their nests upon. The last of the Rutland Ospreys had left on its migration south just about a week ago, so the platforms were the only reminder of the importance of this reserve to a rare breeding bird.

Osprey Nest

Osprey Nest

Returning north back towards the reserve centre I paused to look over Lagoon 1 and could see a Large White Heron-like bird but at that distance, it was difficult to be sure of its identity. I made my way to another hide overlooking the same lagoon but further west and was rewarded with good views of a Great White Egret, first perched on an island and then later feeding in the Lagoon. A Eurasian Hobby was busy hunting over the Lagoon and a Kingfisher was also seen here as it alighted briefly on a fence.

Great White Egret

Great White Egret

In the afternoon I went northwards from the centre and was rewarded on Lagoon 3 with an even closer view of a Great White Egret which posed just outside the hide. This bird appears to be a juvenile (dark legs and a yellow bill) as opposed to the adult seen on Lagoon 1 (pale legs and black mark on bill end) -so 2 different birds present.

Great White Egret

Great White Egret

There were also 2 Black-tailed Godwits here which together with small parties of snipe and large numbers of Northern Lapwing were the only wading birds that I could find.

One final trip back to Tree Sparrow hide failed to turn up the elusive bird and I wonder at their status as this used to be an almost 100% certainty at this site when I have visited in previous years.

Apart from the birds I also recorded 5 species of dragonfly and 7 species of Butterfly.

Common Darter

Common Darter

Then it was time to rejoin the coach for the trip back to London. Great weather, great location and some great wildlife.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great White Egret [sp] (Ardea alba)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Red Kite [sp] (Milvus milvus)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Eurasian Hobby [sp] (Falco subbuteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Linnet [sp] (Carduelis cannabina)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Green-veined White [sp] (Artogeia napi)
Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Small Tortoiseshell [sp] (Aglais urticae)
Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)
Brown Hawker (Aeshna grandis)
Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea)
Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum)
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

Off for a visit to the RSPB reserve at Rainham Marshes on the Thames estuary to the east of London.

DSCN5931a

The weather is dull and overcast although the sun occasionally breaks through as I begin my circuit of the reserve. The feeders by the visitor have good numbers of House Sparrows, a once common bird which has declined in recent years. I first go to the Purfleet hide to see the large group of waders which has gathered in front of it. These turn out to be Golden Plover and Lapwing.

Golden Plover

Golden Plover

Lapwing

Lapwing

In the woodland I come across a female Blackbird busily gorging herself on berries who seem oblivious to my presence.

Blackbird (f)

Blackbird (f)

The Reedbed is unusually quiet and the anticipated Water Rail does not materialise, but I can see plenty of birds out on the marsh so I proceed on to the Butts hide which has marsh on both sides. There are a huge number of Wigeon on the reserve and their whistling call can be heard from the walkway.

Wigeon

Wigeon

A lone pair of Common Pochard swim into view

Common Pochard (m)

Common Pochard (m)

On the Target pool to the west of the hide are a good collection of gulls whilst 2 Marsh Harriers hunt over the reedbed beyond. As I leave a croaking noise alerts me to one of Rainham’s resident Ravens as it passes over the marsh. Arriving again at the Purfleet hide a single Pied Avocet is soon located out on the marsh.

Pied Avocet

Pied Avocet

Looking alongside the hide I see a bird moving in the grass and closer inspection reveals it to be a Common Snipe which obligingly poses for photos before moving off.

Common Snipe

Common Snipe

Then back to the Visitors centre for a hot drink before commencing my journey home contented with a good days birdwatching.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
European Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Northern Raven [sp] (Corvus corax)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)

DSCN5399a

As we were in the Sevenoaks area we decided that we would visit another local reserve, the Sevenoaks Wildlife reserve.

This reserve was founded as a collaboration between a local naturalist and a gravel/ sand extraction company who operated on the site. Extraction finished some 30 years ago and now there are a series of lakes surrounded by woodland.

DSCN5385a

At the first hide we got some great views of a party of Blue Tits in the trees.

Blue Tit

Blue Tit

On the main lake there were a large number of Greylag Geese and Lapwing along with Teal and a Little Egret.

Greylag Geese

Greylag Geese

Lapwing

Lapwing

Eurasian Teal

Eurasian Teal

The real star species though was a large number of Common Snipe. Every island seemed to have its little party of 10-20. There may have been between 50 and 80 in total. It is unusual to see them like this as they spend most of their time in the margins and undergrowth where their excellent camouflage makes them difficult to see.

Common Snipe

Common Snipe

Common Snipe

Common Snipe

Common Snipe

Common Snipe

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)

Another opportunity to get out of London for some birdwatching. This week I head into East Anglia again but this time my destination is Minsmere, an RSPB reserve on the Suffolk Coast. One of the great things about this reserve is the variety of habitats: Reed-bed; lake; mudflats; woodland and heathland all in this one area. This diversity of habitat has made it one of the favourite spots for many birdwatchers over the years.

DSCN1010a

DSCN1017a

However with this years bad weather there has come a lot of flooding. The mudflat scape looks like a lake and the channels and ditches are full to over-flowing. Some of the trails have only re-opened this week after being flooded and impassible. These abnormal conditions plus the high winds on the day were bound to reduce the numbers of birds to be seen. The only birds present in the wet area were Ducks, Greylag Geese and Lapwing, with other waterbirds being either absent or in very low numbers.

Lapwing

Lapwing

Greylag Geese

Greylag Geese

In fact the highlight of the day were the sighting of Marsh Tit and Coal Tit ( 2 of our more uncommon Tit species) on the feeders at Scotts Hall and seeing some Red deer at close enough range to photograph.

Coal Tit
Coal Tit
Photo by Sergey Yaliseev (http://www.flickr.com/photos/yeliseev/)

Marsh Tit 6
Marsh Tit
photo by Steve Chilton (http://www.flickr.com/photos/steve_chilton/)

Red Deer

Red Deer

A good days birdwatching but slightly disappointing by usual Minsmere visit standards.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Eurasian Bittern [sp] (Botaurus stellaris)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Marsh Tit [sp] (Poecile palustris)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian Treecreeper [sp] (Certhia familiaris)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)