Friday, 18 May 2012

RSPB Dinton Trip (13/05/12)

Six people met up for the earlyish morning start at Dinton Pastures and, considering the recent weather, we had a beautiful sunny day.  The attendees were Kevin, Pete, Paul, Pay, Maralyn and Stella.

We set off towards Black Swan lake where we had a singing Garden Warbler which was quite elusive but everybody at least got views.  Garden Warblers were actually the most common warbler apart from Blackcap - we probably heard 5 individuals.

Not much on Black Swan lake except a singing Song Thrush and Chiffchaff at the top of the same tree, there were a few hirundines and Swifts over the golf clubhouse.  A male Whitethroat gave good views as it flitted along the stream by the golf course.

Next round to Sandford Lake where we heard a Bullfinch but it didn't show.  We had brief views of an Oystercatcher flying onto one of the islands on the lake - I believe they are attempting to breed this year (it took me ages to see an Oystercatcher at Dinton over my years of birding there!).

We went into the Bittern hide but it was pretty quiet because the scrape was flooded.  There were a couple of Common Terns on the tern raft and numbers of massive Carp spawning in the scrape.  We heard a Cuckoo but it didn't show and there was a distant Red Kite and a fly past Buzzard - during the morning we must have seen about 6 individual Buzzards.

When we came out of the Bittern hide we stopped to look at another Garden Warbler when a pair of Bullfinches appeared and the male positively shone in the bright sunshine, although typically it didn't hang around for long.

We then went over to the Lea Farm hide where the light wasn't great as were looking into the sun but it did turn up a pair of Egyptian Geese with a lot of goslings (if I remember it was about 10 and I was told they had lost some!), two Little Ringed Plovers, another Oystercatcher,
2 Redshanks and 2 or 3 Red Kites.  We heard the Cuckoo again but it wasn't seen.

We then returned to the car park via the other side of Sandford Lake, then White Swan lake and finally the viewpoint.

We had great views of a male Reed Bunting singing in the top of a dead tree and Pete took some photos.  At the hedgerow between White Swan and Black Swan lake we heard 2 Nightingales and had brief views of one of them.  At the viewpoint, where I expected Lesser Whitethroat, we didn't see one but one was heard singing on the island in Black Swan Lake.  We had good views of a singing Sedge Warbler though.

For Dinton Pastures, at this time of year, the number of species was quite poor especially the numbers of warblers.  We didn't see:

Reed Warbler - 2-3 heard singing
Lesser Whitethroat - 1 heard singing
Willow Warbler - none
heard at all (which is worrying)
Cetti's Warbler - uncommon, but I
usually hear one (and sometimes see one)

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