Joost was in the car park when I arrived and so we headed down to the beach together to see if yesterday’s Little Ringed Plovers were still around. Just down from NP hide we walked the length of the ditch and unexpectedly flushed a Jack Snipe. I’m sure it must be newly arrived. It flew silently and low and I could just about tell where it landed. I used my thermal camera to try and relocate it before we got too close so that we could get a photo without flushing it. Unfortunately the Jack Snipe was hiding deep within thick grasses and I couldn’t see its thermal image and managed to flush it again. Nice flight views but not the photo I’ve been hoping for.
The Little Ringed Plovers had moved on but a ringed Dartford Warbler showed nicely in the morning sun while a Sedge Warbler was singing energetically from the reedbed and a new Wheatear flitted along the beach fence-line.
After a quick coffee in the car I headed over to the hides. Ian had seen one of the Russian White-fronted Geese yesterday and I managed to relocate it swimming on JV. I assumed all four of the birds had headed back to Russia and so this was a surprise. It looks like it is the 1st year bird who has been left behind.
Collared Dove, Linnet and Chiffchaff
Just behind me a snatch of song was clearly a Willow Warbler and I turned around to see it working its way through the sallows.
On the way back along the walking trail Brown Hares were playing chase in the adjoining fields and I heard a very close and quiet sub song which I thought was a sylvia warbler maybe Blackcap. I followed the sound and glimpses of the bird as it moved slowly back down the other side of the hedge. I decided to walk further ahead of it to the end of the hedge so I could look back along the length of it. The bird flew past me and it was the first Whitethroat of the year and my earliest ever.
distant Whitethroat, first of the year
At around 11am Dad and Ian arrived and we walked the beach loop again. Three Bar-tailed Godwit were new for the day and a flock of 100 Dark-bellied Brent Geese showed that there were still a few around. We were almost back at the car when a Green Woodpecker called in the distance.
During our three hour Peregrine watch a young Mediterranean Gull and a young Spoonbill both flew close by and a House Martin was new for the year and along with lots of this year’s common spring migrants it was my earliest ever.
immature Spoonbill photo by Ian Williamson and 1st year Mediterranean Gull