This time last week I was sat in the sauna-like heat of the Pyle hide at Gosforth Park NR waiting for a second glimpse of the male Little Bittern that was making less frequent appearances than a Hen Harrier at the Game Fair. A juvenile Water Rail entertained as did the banter. To be honest I doubt that neither ADMc or I expected to connect as quickly as we did with the first flyby occurring within about 20-25 minutes of arriving within the hide.
A couple of short seawatches toward the end of the week produced little, a single 1st-summer Little Gull, some small movements of Manx Shearwaters and by the end of the week three returning adult Red-throated Divers on the sea off Church Point. Most notable was the continuous feeding movement of Herring Gulls that counts on one day suggested was at a rate of 600/hour north. The Ash Lagoon banks were quiet though a pair of Bullfinches were my first on the moor this year.
After a weekend at work with the usual liberal dose of kids activities, I quickly knocked off some food hopping this morning and spent a quick hour at Castle Island ahead of a lunchtime meeting with Blanaid Denman from the RSPB Skydancer Project to chat about Hen Harrier Day.
Plenty of birds though little by way of quality, a single Green Sandpiper the pick of the bunch, Lapwing post-breeding numbers already up to 60, 17 loafing Cormorants, 8 Grey Herons, a first brood of Tufted Ducks (9) boosted numbers with a 50+ count of adults. Shelduck appear to have had a decent breeding season with at least 30 young of varying sizes around the island. A single GreylagxCanada hybrid in the Canada Goose flock.
Tonight another hour at Church Point produced a single Great Skua north along with 15 Manx Shearwaters and a pale morph small skua sp. on the horizon.