Things began when John spotted a Water Rail running around the edge of the reed bed. I'm not sure but I think this might be the first we've seen here? Nearby a Chiffchaff was in full song, whilst a flock of 9 Magpies argued things out like a parliamentary debate. We began the walk from the car park into the rising sun, when a lovely Barn Owl flew in from the golf course. Back lit by the sun, its a shame it was too distant for photos.
From the track south, we scanned the sunny edge of the reed bed to see if the Water Rail was back out when something unusual caught our attention. You could tell that something was up by the silence. We weren't talking. A wader down in the reed detritus looked odd. It was John who spoke first, saying something like, 'Go on, say it'....I commented that this snipe did seem to have a short bill, but being just armed with binoculars, I couldnt be sure, it might be due to a muddy tip.
To resolve the conundrum, I wandered slowly closer for a better view while John watched. The bird, moved into the reed edge then lay down. We both stalked the target. At good range, a Common Snipe flushed from the spot, and called its scraping shout before vanishing. Thats that then, just a Snipe. Still suspicious John moved another few yards closer, when a second bird jumped up - a Jack Snipe! The two bird theory proved without doubt. The bird, flew lowish over the phragmites and dropped over at the other side, out of view.
What a start to the day! Jacks are a scarce bird up in these parts.
We continued down the track met by one of the wintering Short eared Owls being mobbed by a crow before viewing the estuary proper. An immature male Peregrine came in, low from the east, to make a dawn raid on the unsuspecting waders. He seemed unsuccessful.
The rest of the morning was largely uneventful but with 5 decent birds down at 'the gut' we couldnt complain. Maybe next time there'll be some summer migrants...
|A very heavily cropped Peregrine attacking out of the sunrise...|