The Whitlingham Bird Report 2020 is available now (click here)

For previous years (2012-2019) see the links on the Whitlingham Bird List page.

Obligatory Bluethroat Post

24th April 2010
Birding has many levels of appeal, and a myriad reasons for doing it. However, brightly coloured or elaborately plumaged birds do seem to have that bit of extra motivation to them. Think Bee-eater vs Dusky Warbler, both at opposite ends of the county, how many would choose the warbler? Anyway, I'd never seen a Bluethroat, I was offered a lift, it was a no-brainer. Having consulted with my bank manager I scraped together enough to cover the entry fee, and off we went. Note to WWT type people. Your observatory hide is nice. I like Swans. £6.70 is a ridiculously high entry fee. I suggested it was originally £2, but eveytime something rare turns up they increase it (Canvasback £2, Caspian Tern £1, American Wigeon 50p etc). This was actually the first time I'd beent here and been able to walk around, its been flooded previously.
So, we were in, and walking across the fortifications. Some Corn Buntings singing in the car park and some House Martins were a pleasant start. Ignoring all of the hides, we carried on to the pathway to the Lyle Hide, where birders were loitering looking slightly uncertain. The reason became apparent, the bird had just flown across the path and out of sight into a small area of reedbed. We waited, and waited (the girls went and sat down on a bench watching a Sedge Warbler) before eventually the Bluethroat popped out of the reeds directly in front of Gary & I. It was constantly flicking its tail up, showing the red edges, before turning to show the blue throat and flying back down into the reeds. Everyone was excited, none more so than the guy who proclaimed "its a Wren", only to be told in no uncertain terms that he was incorrect (you had to be there). A further half hour of occasional bits of song and a couple of flight views later and we called it quits. Not the views that such a beautiful bird deserves, but enough to appreciate its salient points.
During our vigil we had also clocked up Common Tern, Yellow Wagtail, Whooper Swan and Marsh Harrier, but we wanted to get our moneys worth. On the way back we stopped for an in-promptu pond-dip, managing a leech, caddisfly larvae, lots of water snails and water lice. On the main scrape were LRPs, Common Sandpiper, more Yellow Wags and the usual marshy fare. We departed for Titchwell in search of sustenance.
With all of the sausage rolls long gone, I had the Cornish Pasty that clearly nobody else wanted. A brood of ducklings was the only thing showing from the fen hide, although we politely thanked a man for his news that a Marsh Harrier was showing. I have no idea what he'd be like at Stubb Mill. We quickly located pairs of Ruddy Duck and Red-crested Pochard, and less quickly got on to a female Ring Ouzel. At the far end of the car park we located the Lesser Whitethroat that could be heard singing from the Fen Hide. We were about ready to go home, but a quick walk along the Holme entrance track gave us a first Whimbrel of the year.

No comments:

Post a comment