Saturday, 25 April 2009

East Mids rules

Saturday 25th April 2009

Confirmation the group of Whiskered terns at Willington gravel pits just south west of Derby were still there this morning had me driving north early on. The steady rain was encouraging but even as the skies brightened as I arrived the birds showed no sign of moving on. I attempted to take a few photos as the rain fell began to fall again. A steady stream of birders undaunted by the rain, arrived on site, drawn by the unique opportunity to see such a large number of Whiskered terns. I counted 8 birds but some said 10 and my photograph would appear to show 9. There was clearly a good deal of migration occuring with up to 10 Swifts overhead, 2 Hobby, a Whinchat in the meadows and Lesser Whitethoat and Grasshopper warbler singing along the lane. At one point as the skies brightened again the terns suddenly started calling as they flew off low to the South. We assumed they had gone but half an hour later they were back. Much to the relief of many latecomers including Mr Perrins taking a break from his training for the London Marathon and looking very smart in trainers and shorts.
A slight detour on the way back took me to Cossington meadows near Leicester, the temporary home of 2 Pectoral Sandpipers. A lovely spot next to the river. One of the Sandpipers had disappeared overnight and the remaining bird kept its distance on the far side of the scrape. Other birds at this site were Little ringed Plover, Redshank and Little Egret.
Time for a quick cup of tea at home before setting off again to Ladywalk N.R. where a couple of Ruff (148) had dropped in. I also tried for a Whimbrel reported at Marsh Lane N.R. but no sign. Still I couldn't complain it had been a lively and rewarding days birding. Although it seems the East Mids is getting all the birds at the moment, Im sure the West Mids will have its day in the not too distant future.