Saturday, 2 August 2014

Bandit at 10 o'clock!!

The weather forecast was looking good with rain between 0600 and 0900hrs. The wind was changeable from an E round to a SW wind and there was plenty of cloud. Getting up at stupid o’clock is common place for me these days so it was off to the Farm to see if the poor weather would catch some migrants out. Today was an unusual day as I appeared to be the only one on the Farm until Nick joined me for a while some hours later.

I like to stand on the side of mount Beddington this is about 60ft higher than the hide and there is an excellent view of both the North and South lakes. There was just a breeze when I arrived but there was rain in the air. Things were looking good!!

The other advantage of being closer to the heavens is the birds commute between the lakes at eye level. Some don’t see you until it’s nearly too late and have to take evasive action. The first offering of the day was a Great crested Grebe which surprisingly enough is uncommon at the Farm. Two Common Sandpipers were following each other around the edges of the North lake.Eight Cormorants were scattered between the lakes and a couple of Swallow passed by which my enthusiasm kept going for the chance of something better!
(Marsh Harrier)
Patch birding can be a waiting game but when the gulls went up and the corvids made for the east side of the lake something had to be up!! Sure enough a Marsh Harrier had decided to take a look at the North lake not realising it would scramble a squadron of crows and soon became surrounded by these noisy aggressive birds.!
(Scramble Scramble!)
Having supposedly seen the intruder off the corvids gave up the chase allowing the bird to have a look at the South lake where it disappeared out of view. Nick went to see if the bird had landed by the lake but came back later with no further sighting of the bird.
(Marsh Harrier)
Some half an hour later the Marsh Harrier re-appeared over the South end of the South lake and appeared to be hunting the coot chicks who along with the parents were swimming for their lives! This caused chaos, with all the birds on the lake going into a blind panic calling and scurrying across the water some making for the skies above. The Harrier then gained height and sailed off SW.

A while later Nick departed and I was back on sentry duty again. The next patch of rain was not due until 2 o’clock so I decided to have some time out on the hill. I was about to doze off when I heard Common Tern calling! There were three in total as they literally flew over my head which caused a bit of panic in my corner but the id of the birds was confirmed and they flew off SW.
A picture of the Sparrowhawk that nearly knocked me out this morning...I'm not sure who was more surprised...!!

The afternoon rain did not materialize so I headed for home and a recovery sleep! Not a bad morning at all..!! 

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