Tuesday, 22 April 2008
Soar Valley Tick Bittern hooray! 20th April 2008.
A very wet dawn chorus!
Another early morning start for myself and John, as we guided the LRWT Leicester group around Prior's Coppice LRWT for the dawn chorus walk. Although it rained for most of the walk, good numbers of common species were heard and seen, with highlights included a calling Tawny Owl, at least four Marsh Tits, and singing Grasshopper and Garden Warbler. The last two were year ticks to boot.
After finishing the walk we move on to Robin-a-Tiptoe Hill, near Tilton, were John promptly found a male Ring Ouzel distantly feeding round the top of the hill.
The Ring Ouzel was a nice find, but there nothing much else to report, so myself and John went back to Leicester for some breakfast at a local McDonald's ( This is the only meal I will eat at McDonald's!), and then dropping off John at his home.
After a short power nap at home, I was woken by phonecall from Jez Robson, who had just seen the Bittern again down at Cossington Meadows.
As you can imagine I drove very quickly to Cossington Meadows.
Joining Andy Mackay, Jez and John down at Cossington, the Bittern showed again, as it flew around Tern Pool and then landed in the nearby reedbed. When the bird was first seen it was apparently walking down the track next to the tern pool!
Other sightings around the meadows included newly arrived Whitethroats, Reed Warblers and five Yelllow Wagtails on the plover meadow.
As it seem to be a day when lots of stuff were being recorded, I moved on to Groby Pool, as a group of Little Gulls and a Black Tern had been found by Brian Moore.
As I got out of my car, John let us know that the birds had flown off, but there was some stuff at Thornton Res as well, so jumping back in to my car, I followed John to Thornton.
Arriving at Thornton Res we scanned the water to see that four Little Gulls feeding over the surface, which we accompanied by twelve Common Terns and a single Arctic Tern.
In the nearby fields we also watched a corking male Yellow Wagtail feeding around the cattle and horses, when suddenley the hirundines all went berserk,chatting and gaining height very quickly. At this point I picked up a Hobby flying over the reservoir, and shouted to John of it's presence. We watched it try and catch a couple of Swallows and Martins but this time to no avail.
As time was pressing, what better way to finish the day, with a number of year ticks and a Soar Valley tick to boot!