Witton Bridge 04.06.2018

Cloudy with warm sunny spells

With the promise of a good bright morning ahead, the Team assembled in the Witton Bridge car park and were greeted by a rich variety of birdsong amongst which some detected the yaffle of a green woodpecker.  A short walk up to the viewpoint looking over Ashton’s Flash revealed several swifts circling in the sky above and tufted duck, mallard, and coots with chicks on the water, and a first sighting of reed warbler in the near rushes.

Moving down onto the track between Ashton’s and Neumann’s Flash, we were treated to the song and sighting of willow warbler, which provided encouraging evidence of the several reports about the plentiful numbers of warblers in this area. We congregated in the hide looking over Neumann’s Flash accessed along the spit, learning it had recently been named Pod’s Hide in the memory of a keen birdwatcher and visitor to this area from Comberbach (Pete “Pod” Antrobus).  From there we observed a large number of mute swan together with moorhen, coot, mallard and a pair of great crested grebe.  A swallow was spotted and reed warbler was heard but alas not seen.  Further along the track a further vocal treat of a song thrush was followed by good sightings of coot, lapwing, black-headed gull and herring gull on Ashton’s Flash.  Unfortunately we were unable to detect a pair of nesting ringed plovers which apparently had been chased off their nest on Neumann’s Flash very recently.

Before turning northwards onto the woodland track along the eastern side of Neumann’s Flash, a quick diversion up to the viewpoint revealed good sightings of whitethroat and willow warbler (and the opportunity for a coffee break for some). The woodland along the track, and hedges and reedbeds to the east, provided a rich background of birdsong and soon chiffchaff, goldfinch, songthrush, bullfinch, willow warbler, robin and collared dove were spotted as we slowly ambled along enjoying the colours, sounds and warmth.  Unfortunately blackcap and reed warbler were only heard rather than clearly seen. A last foray to view Neumann’s Flash revealed nothing new but a great crested grebe on its nest.

Turning right along the track over Forge Brook towards Marbury Lane and Haydn’s Pool, we arrived expectantly at the location where Cetti’s warbler had been consistently reported for some weeks. We were treated to whitethroat and jay and the explosive song of said Cetti’s warbler. However no clear sightings of the latter as it played up to its reputation of skulking in the hawthorn thicket.

Finally we arrived at Haydn’s Pool which performed poorly this time with only moorhen, coot and a single stockdove perched on the owl box in the distance.  Returning back to the car park, Butterfinch Bridge proved water rail-less but the Witton Brook footpath compensated by allowing some good photogenic views of reed bunting. Overall a very pleasant and fruitful morning’s outing!   (S

Bird list (BP)

  1. Little Grebe
  2. Great-crested Grebe
  3. Heron
  4. Mute Swan
  5. Canada Goose
  6. Mallard
  7. Tufted Duck
  8. Buzzard
  9. Moorhen
  10. Coot
  11. Lapwing
  12. Black-headed Gull
  13. Herring Gull
  14. Stock Dove
  15. Woodpigeon
  16. Collared Dove
  17. Swift
  18. Swallow
  19. House Martin
  20. Wren
  21. Dunnock
  22. Robin
  23. Blackbird
  24. Song Thrush
  25. Whitethroat
  26. Willow Warbler
  27. Long-tailed Tit
  28. Great Tit
  29. Blue Tit
  30. Jay
  31. Magpie
  32. Carrion Crow
  33. Starling
  34. Goldfinch
  35. Bullfinch
  36. Reed Bunting

Birds heard only: Green woodpecker, Cetti’s warbler, Reed warbler, Blackcap                Also seen:  Speckled wood butterfly, Cinnabar moth, Black-tailed skimmer, Common blue damselfly

 

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