The Met Office got it all wrong yesterday, but their blunder resulted in an excellent day's birding for yours truly.
I woke early and decided to venture out, thinking that I would call it a day when the rain came over, but it never did. I headed off to Upton Warren first, picking up a juvenile Little Gull [lifer 212!] [year tick 169!], a Mediterranean Gull, Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Sedge Warbler, Kingfisher, Dunlin, Snipe and, after much patience, a Reed Warbler [year tick 170!]. These birds were all seen from the East Hide on the Moors Pool. A visit to the flashes got me a Lesser Whitethroat [year tick 171!], a right little beauty!
With the skies still clear and my luck in, I chanced my arm at Holt and Grimley New Workings in the hope of picking up a Yellow Wagtail, another of my bogey birds. I couldn't find one, but I did spot another Dunlin and a pair of Little Ringed Plovers in the flooded field at Holt, plus a few Common Whitethroats at both sites.
I couldn't resist paying a visit to nearby Shenstone on the way back. This is becoming something of a birding mecca for me and I have never come away from there without seeing something of interest. As expected, I saw Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer, Common Whitethroat, many Wheatear, Linnet, Lapwing, Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk and a pair of Grey Partridge. However, as I made my way up Heath Lane, I heard my first Cuckoo of the year. I wheeled around and spotted a bird flying away from me in the distance. Luckily I was able to get the scope up in time to confirm that it was the Cuckoo that I had just heard [year tick 172!].
I had a go for the local Little Owl as I neared home, but failed to spot it on this occasion. Thanks to Gordon Greaves at Upton Warren for identifying the Mediterranean Gull and giving me a bit of gen regarding the Lesser Whitethroat.
I'm off to Brandon Marsh and Draycote Water today, so with some luck there may be a few more additions to the life and year list today.
The Mistle Epistle
I have a feeling that one of the eggs may have hatched. There was a lot of unsavoury activity around the nest this morning when a couple of Jackdaws showed a little too much interest in proceedings. The Mistle Thrush managed to fend them off eventually, but with an army of at least 30 Jackdaws in the area, I wonder how long they can survive this kind of sustained attack.
It is a little upsetting to watch, but I don't feel I can intervene. Ultimately, nature has to run its course. I will try to have a look in the nest later today to work out exactly what is going on.