Thursday, August 09, 2007

Elmley 29th July 07

I had been trying to persuade my dad to let me go to Elmley for ages, I wanted to try and see Yellow Wagtail before it was too late the day was a great success. Here is how it went.
As we started travelling along the entrance track, there were a few Swallow and Starlings flying around but not much else. I saw a Skylark slightly further up and a distant Kestrel but other than that the entrance track wasn't as fantastic as it normally is. Just as we got to the car park I noticed a female Yellow Wagtail! I had lost hope of this species as I had only seen it on the entrance track before. Then I noticed the female and 2 males having a bath in a puddle, fantastic! The car park hosted House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Pied Wagtail, a Moorhen and Swallow. When I was coming out of the loo I noticed a Swallow's nest in the corner and 2 Swallows sitting on the wall in front waiting patiently for access. I couldn't resist taking some photos (see galleries). We started our journey towards the hides without much of interest. But I did briefly see a Green Woodpecker fly into an Oak tree where Little Owls were said to be breeding. There was a Little Grebe calling and several Coots on the ponds and Meadow Pipits flitted round, letting us get pretty close. We also noticed a young Great-crested Grebe down a ditch; it dived for a very long time, the longest I have ever seen a Grebe dive for! At the first hide, the first thing I noticed was the Dunlin, about 30, feeding in front of the hide; I got some photos (see galleries). Also, there were some Avocets and their Juveniles, Black-tailed Godwits were on the other side feeding. I soon noticed Ringed Plover and a male Ruff moulting out of summer plumage. There was an Oystercatcher sleeping amongst the grass and a baby Redshank feeding, it still had down and looked unable to fly but its adult plumage was coming out well. The second hide held nothing but Shelducks and their juveniles, a male Ruddy Duck who was constantly displaying, perhaps he hadn't found a mate this year, Ruddy Ducks are rare now because of the cull to reduce hybridization with Europe's rare White-headed Duck. There were Linnets and plenty Yellow Wagtails near the hide and we got some video footage ( I will try to get some on the website) There was a single Lapwing. On the way back I noticed two Curlews flying in, a female Mallard and most special of all, two Little Owls sitting in an Oak tree behind the loos ( the same one I saw the Green Woodpecker fly into). I showed two families the Owls and they were delighted, especially the children. The Owls were wonderful;, it is always a magic experience seeing an Owl. It was a very special day!

Photos soon

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