Pennington Flash 25.04.17

Mainly bright, but with a cold northerly wind 

With most of us having donned the winter woolies again  to cope with the sudden drop in temperature, the Team gathered at Pennington for its first outing after the Easter break. First views across the flash were not particularly encouraging with only the usual mix, Mallard, Coot, Black-headed Gulls, Canada Goose and Mute Swan present.  However, in just a little while  a couple of distant Buzzards came into view and we had first sight of a mix of hirundines skimming over the water, but these were too far off for the moment to be able to identify with any certainty.

En route for the Horrocks hide,  a veritable charm of rather noisy Goldfinches caused a brief halt to our progress, but once settled in the hide, in the teeth of an icy wind, our interest was sparked by reports from fellow birders of Little Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper and Common Tern. Eventually most of the group were able claim good sightings of each of these ‘specials’, as well Redshank, Lapwing, Great Crested Grebe, the usual Cormorant sunning themselves on the end of the spit and a lone Pied Wagtail busy along the water’s edge.

Back in the relative warmth of the sunshine outside the hide, we began what remained a challenge for the rest of the morning; spotting the various warblers and woodland birds that made known their presence singing from trees and bushes that by this time of year are now affording plenty of leaf cover. Early on, a Chiffchaff proved one of the easier birds to spot, but later Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Sedge Warbler were also identified by various members of the group.

At the Tom Edmonton hide a rather shy Heron was spotted, but there was little activity and we soon pressed on to Ramsdale Hide, where a Jay flew across in front of us, a Redshank was seen prodding in the shallows and eventually, on the far side of the pool, a solitary Snipe was spotted, stock-still at first, but later embarking on a slow feeding progress along the shoreline, in and out of cover, but all the while offering tantalising glimpses.

With the early brightness having been replaced by cloud, and an odd drop or two of icy rain being felt, we pressed on fairly rapidly, but still adding to our list along the way with some Gadwall and Teal at (yes, you’ve guessed it!) Teal hide, the first of several Mistle Thrush on the golf course and a few Blackbirds nearby. Bunting hide appeared at first totally deserted save for a pair of Mallard and a squirrel – perhaps on account of a passing raptor we had just missed? –  and it was a good few minutes before our patience was rewarded and birds slowly began to come in to make the best of the well-stocked feeders. We had good sightings of pairs of Bullfinches, the red breast of the males showing really well, of male and female Chaffinch and Reed Buntings and a weighty ‘Dole’ of six or seven Stock Doves.

A quick visit to Pengys hide afforded nothing to add to the list, but as some of the Team were leaving, a Treecreeper flew in and, unusually, remained motionless on the leeward side of a tree, somewhat confusing the eye since it had in its beak a small white feather, something perhaps to line its nest?

The last few yards back to the car park held one final treat for some as a Sparrowhawk was spotted flying over the flash and disturbing the hirundines that were wheeling overhead. (CG)

Bird List (CH)

  1. Great Crested Grebe
  2. Cormorant
  3. Grey Heron
  4. Mute Swan
  5. Canada Goose
  6. Teal
  7. Mallard
  8. Tufted Duck
  9. Gadwall
  10. Sparrowhawk
  11. Buzzard
  12. Moorhen
  13. Coot
  14. Oystercatcher
  15. Lapwing
  16. Little Ringed Plover
  17. Common Sandpiper
  18. Redshank
  19. Snipe
  20. Herring Gull
  21. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  22. Common Tern
  23. Stock Dove
  24. Woodpigeon
  25. Swallow
  26. House Martin
  27. Sand Martin
  28. Pied Wagtail
  29. Wren
  30. Robin
  31. Blackbird
  32. Song thrush
  33. Mistle Thrush
  34. Blackcap
  35. Willow Warbler
  36. Chiffchaff
  37. Sedge Warbler
  38. Treecreeper
  39. Reed Bunting
  40. Chaffinch
  41. Goldfinch
  42. Bullfinch
  43. Blue Tit
  44. Great Tit
  45. Magpie
  46. Carrion Crow
  47. Jackdaw
  48. Jay

Photos DC and JH

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