Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Local Migrants

I had a spare couple of hours last Saturday so I decided to explore a few local sites for Spring migrants.
First stop was the Lighthouse at Leasowe where an obliging Wheatear posed for a few photos before being scared off by a dog-walker. In fact there were a lot of people out and about in the warm afternoon sunshine; it had been a cold and cloudy morning so it was unsurprising that people were making the most of a change in the weather. Crowds of people are not conducive to successful wildlife photography so I headed to Shotwick Lake in search Yellow Wagtails. I have had some success photographing this beautiful migrant at this site in previous years but there were none to be seen last weekend, but a male Swallow perched briefly on the fence of the boating lake allowing me to take a quick snap.
I didn't want to head home early on a sunny May evening so I went to the nearby RSPB reserve at Burton where there were plenty of exciting migrant to be seen. The approach road to this gem of a reserve snakes its way through a small woodland where singing Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps serenaded visitors from the treetops above a sea of bluebells; I wish I had brought a smaller lens with me to capture this magical blue carpet.
A male Garganey showed well but distantly from the visitor centre on my arrival. I walked the short distance to the Marsh Covert Hide were I spent the rest of the evening trying to get a clear shot of Reed and Sedge Warblers that were singing, feeding and flitting about amongst the stands of phragmites. The Reed Warbler's smooth incantations are a symphony in comparison to the jazz of the Sedge Warbler's breathless song; and both songsters are the proverbial music to my ears in Spring. Which is more than can be said for the guttural grunts emanating from the Little Egrets breeding in the nearby trees; they have to be heard to be believed, they sound as though they are thoroughly intoxicated to the point of bringing up their last meal!
I finally dragged myself away from my beloved warblers and was enchanted by a family of Canada Geese; not many people's favourite bird but the goslings were adorable. And just to round off the day a family of Treecreepers were feeding in the carpark. I have never seen more than two together before so to see what must have been more than six at once was a real joy.

Male Wheatear

Sedge Warbler (shame about the reed!)

Reed Warbler

Canada Goose gosling

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