Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Beddington Farm - Great Expectations but Nothing Terned Up!


The North-easterly blow continues as spring migration enters the MEGA season! Birding at the Farm is a test of patience at any time but there is always the thought of the MEGA turning up on your shift!

Yesterdays watch saw me entrenched on my favourite corner which has a good panoramic view of both lakes and more importantly places me closer to the heavens and any migrant that does not fancy a pit stop on the lakes.

The day started off chilly with blue skies, which was not the most ideal of conditions but I assumed my sky watching position (having first checked out the lakes which had a Common Sandpiper and LRP on the south.
As the cloud started to close in I had a burst of raptors all within a forty minute period! Red Kite was first with three birds (two of which I photographed) heading across the Farm in different directions.
Buzzard was close behind them with four individuals in varying stages of moult. I find it amazing how they still manage to fly as well as shake off the Farms resident corvid welcoming party.
This individual was the most complete with only a couple of primary/secondary feathers in moult. I saw this individual again today.
This bird looked as though the corvids had began plucking it’s feathers. It made particular hard work of shaking off the pursuing group.
One bird seemed very tatty with the outer tips to the flight feathers worn.

The cloud started to roll in and the forecast was for rain later on in the afternoon! Now this was getting interesting, Black Tern was beginning to turn up in numbers and on inland sites too! The day now had my full attention as I have not seen Black Tern at the Farm before.

As time moved on it seemed I was surrounded by Black Tern but would any cross the boundary and add themselves to my Farm tally of 189 species! The reinforcements were also brought in as Pete Alfrey who had been sweating on the weather whilst driving back from Wales! He arrived just before a thunderstorm which resulted in us both pinned to the back of the hide as the rain pelted us as we continued our vigil.
Sadly despite a thirteen hour shift no Black Tern graced the Farm with their presence but there was a first breeding record for Egyption Goose whos proud parents shepherded their two chicks (goslings) away from any prying gull eyes!