Tuesday, 22 May 2012

A Hot Day at RSPB Langford Lowfields

Today, I got on my bicycle and headed out for Langford Lowfields on what I knew would be a beautiful day.

At last!

And old chap with a biycle told me that he had seen a couple of buzzards overhead shortly before, but typically I missed the raptors as I always do, so I thought.

Reed Buntings were in evidence by what I think is referred to as Phase 2

Arrived at the hide, settled in, and had a look round. The feeders were quiter than my march visit, but during my time today, Greenfinch, Goldfinch - beautiful in my 10x50s - Chaffinch and Blue and Great Tits all paid a visit.

At all times, the hedgerows, Hawthorn bloom rampant, were alive with birdsong. The most distinctive was a throaty, crackling rasp - god only knows what that is.

Out on the very sparse looking reedbed, it didn't look like whole lot was happening at first, but close inspection and patience was rewarded. The most obvious residents are the big Canada and Greylag Geese, the obligatory mallards and a large population of Cootes. But in the distance, behind a pair of swans, a Shelduck, the first I have seen here, was crusing the waters.

Black and White flashes in the sky seen naked eye, revealed themselves to be a number of lapwings with their distinctive broad wings and tumbling flight. The two buzzards eventually appeared flying towards the river at the north end of the site, and flocks of sand martins continually worked the reed bed south to north.

But the most exciting sight gave itself away when a bug immature herring gull came over. As I followed it in the 10x50s, a black and white sleepy bird I had assumed to be ye olde Tufted Duck suddenly erupted off a sandbank, and went for it making a furious piping alarm call. It was joined by another, and plain as day, the giveaway angled black and white wings and long red bill of a pair of oystercatchers.

They are fierce!!! A black headed gull got savaged a little later, and as that Herring Gull found out, they will take on anything no matter how much bigger.

I figured that there must be a nest with eggs, and could see where one oystercatcher was carefully sitting. Eventually it went probing in the mud, dirtying it's scarlet beak in the process, and yes, I could see a chick!

A lovely visit, although not so for the young rabbit on the path with it's throat torn out.

Tonight the swifts are all over Newark, screeching with the joy of flying

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