Monday, May 2, 2011

Less bover with a hover

A few of us who are friends of A Rocha gathered at four-o-clock in the morning at Leighton Moss RSPB reserve. Our first port of call was by the Row just off the reserve where I usually hear woodcock - but not this morning.. We could hear the black headed gulls making their usual raucous call and robins adding their much sweeter trill. It did not take long for the blackbirds to start as well as sedge warbler.
A male tawny owl was heard in the distance and as we passed the end of the Public Causeway a blackcap started up. Flora seen were wild garlic, common dog violet, garlic mustard, Cuckoo pint and early purple orchid. Higher up in a tree we just heard a goldcrest and then as we approached the more open area we spotted a marsh harrier. On through the "blue" gate ( it is now brown) to hear chiffchaff on one side and willow warbler on the other. One of our party asked us to be quiet so we obeyed, thrilled to see a party of about a dozen red deer hinds and heard the drumming of a great spotted woodpecker. By this time we were near the Lower Hide and saw a bird hovering. Some would tell us that only kestrels hover, but they have not seen the kingfishers that I have. The bird we saw was also a "king" of fishers, or perhaps I should say queen, since it was a female osprey. We walked more quickly trying to get a better view but it had flown away. To make up for our frustration, a male marsh harrier decided to hunt just in front of the hide, upsetting the lapwing population. As we continued our circular walk, reed warblers and sedge warblers continued trying to confuse us and reed bunting, tree-creepers, and marsh tits encouraged us. Their alarm calls alerted us to a sparrow-hawk. The public hide also had its plethora of gulls as well as cormorants, pochards, mallards, coot and tufted duck. By this time we had been out for over three and a half hours, so we returned to our vehicles for a flask of hot coffee. It had been a very enjoyable morning. 

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