Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Rain almost stopped play ! 10.7.2017.

And finally, back to writing! Feels good.

Why is it that, at the point of departure out birding, it all too often starts raining ?  And so it was yesterday morning, with conditions continuing for over five hours until , at 1100 hours in a thoroughly damp and demoralized state, I called it a day. For once a usual circuit of Ingbirchworth Reservoir was virtually bereft of joggers and dog walkers and I almost had the whole area to myself.  The water level is still slightly down, but obviously now being replenished as the rapid flow of the stream in the north west corner illustrated. However, more than enough mud exists to attract passing waders so it could be a good autumn!

Sadly little was on offer that indicated any link with migration !  Yellowhammer and a single Garden Warbler were still in song and young birds were widespread , although not abundant. Best of all was calling Willow Tit in two places, which was encouraging. House Martins were busy foraging over the reservoir margins where small ( irritating ) insects were present in profusion. The new housing development nearby appears to have been adopted by the birds rather speedily ! The usual suspects were hanging out  on the exposed banks ......Mallard, Canada Goose, Grey lag Goose and a single Coot ( the other birds present previously just seem to have vacated ). Sadly 4 Great crested Grebe  were out on the water with no young in evidence and access to any late breeding site now impossible due to the  receding water margin. Still, the variety of species was still good overall.   I may be wrong, but I felt this "season"  was possibly a little later than previously with perhaps first broods having perished with the period of poor weather we had before. Hopefully some birds might still be raising young and we've yet to enjoy the "spike" in newly fledged youngsters. I was intrigued by the absence of Common Whitethroat, Reed Bunting, Song Thrush, but perhaps I was just unlucky!

Broadstones Reservoir, previously showing some encouraging muddy margins, is now back to capacity. Unfortunately the recently recorded Quail weren't in evidence. but given the weather that was hardly surprising , particularly as conditions were getting worse ! A single Curlew called forlornly across the rain swept fields and 10 Lapwing fed nearby, a mere reflection of post breeding season numbers present in previous times.

And so, eventually, soaked and defeated, I called it a day !  Rain, very definitely, had stopped play.