Monday, 25 April 2022

Summer Leys :: 23 April 2022

A whimbrel was reported at Summer Leys on Friday and so that is where Kevin Heath and I set out for on Saturday morning, picking up breakfast on the way and checking out Hardwater Lake before parking up at Summer Leys. We had willow warbler singing as we put on our walking boots and made for the Pioneer Hide - common terns (up to fourteen in a single party) fished and a single swallow flew across the far bank. With no sign of the whimbrel, we moved on as it had been seen a further round the reserve finding a rather colourful but distant bar-tailed godwit, a drake pintail, common snipe and handfuls of redshank. We checked out the double decker hide but didn't have anything new other than a great white egret, so kept on the move.

Common snipe
Bar-tailed godwit
Great white egret

Chiffchaff and willow warbler called from the treetops, and we added our first garden warbler of the year having managed to pick it out amongst numbers of blackcap. We still couldn't locate a whimbrel and by the time we reached the feeders we were lucky to watch two Egyptian geese drop in.

Willow warbler
Egyptian goose
Egyptian goose
Egyptian goose

Through the gate and along the old railway line we added song thrushes, sedge warbler but very few whitethroat. Our species count though was starting to build. A chap was standing watching rocks where a mink had retreated - we joined him briefly but decided to move on but stopped when Kev picked out a kingfisher and noted an egret over towards Great Doddington – through the bins I could see one cattle egret in a field north of River Nene, opposite the sand martin wall, which then flew east along the river.

Sedge warbler
Sedge warbler
Cattle egret

We were happy with the find and to have been able to watch the bird on the wing - looking back to the main lake we saw a pair of ruff. Unfortunately, we weren't in the best place for a photo but had great views through our bins and scope - a couple of other birders stopped to join us. A few tens of metres on we stopped again to identify some small birds that had landed on a point protruding out into the water: two sanderling and a dunlin. We tried to take photos through the scope and with my camera, hoping we would be able to extract something as they were all distant. As we watched a single little ringed plover joined.

Sanderling dunlin little ringed plover

We had further views of great white egret but no additions to our 58 species for the morning. We stopped at the Visitor Centre and bought a coffee and stopped to chat with the staff manning it.

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