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Whitlingham Sept counts & another Black Tern

10th September 2010
With the coast dripping with Redstarts earlier in the week, if ever I was going to find an autumn patch migrant, this should be the time. After spending far too much time checking the tit flocks along the edge of the Little Broad (one Chiffchaff, its a warbler bonanza) I revised my expectations to "nothing" and began my wildfowl count. A Black Swan that turned up a couple of days ago was the first of the year here, presumably last years pair were the ones that bred at Strumpshaw. Count:
Black Swan - 1 (Little Broad)
Mute Swan - 86 (6 Little Broad, 80 Great Broad)
Greylag Goose - 3
Canada Goose - None, but three Thorpe side of the river
Egyptian Goose - 6 (Mass exodus, now only 3 pairs)
Mallard - 140 (including Domestic Mallard types)
Gadwall - 28 (increase on last count)
Tufted Duck - 5 (flew over)
Great Crested Grebe - 5
Coot - 234 (5 Little Broad, 229 Great Broad)
Moorhen - 4
Cormorant - 31+ in roost trees
The walk around the broad was uneventful, with no watersports going on and few other walkers. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was the only bird of note along the south shore. The Coot were rather flighty, continuously half flying/half running along the water, particularly a group of 117 near the centre of the broad. I was scanning the conservation area bay to complete my Coot count when I spotted a Black Tern hawking along the east end of the broad. Going back round to the south shore I watched it near the island, marvelling at each swoop and soar up just above the water surface. Having twitched one here a couple of days ago it was nice to see this one and spend some time watching it. I called Cathy, who came and had a look, her first Black Tern.

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