Saturday, 28 April 2012

Much More Like It!

A call from friend Stuart Gregory saw us spending the morning at the marsh at Capestang.  Although Stuart has lived within 30 minutes of the site for several years this was his first visit.  It was still cloudy with a southerly breeze and some brighter periods.

Wood Sandpiper

Approaching the marsh we stopped to admire a super male Montagu's Harrier before getting to our parking place.  Immediately a few Bee-eaters were passing overhead and Nightingales and Cetti's Warblers were singing noisily.  A couple of pairs of Black Kites and a similar number of Marsh Harriers were quartering the marsh and at least 50 Little Egrets were feeding in groups.  Four Great White Egrets were still feeding on the wet areas and Purple Herons were very much in evidence.  Closer scrutiny revealed 16 Whiskered Terns, 24 Wood Sandpipers, 10 Black-winged Stilts, Lapwing, Spotted Redshank and Greenshank.

Whiskered Tern

Moving on a bit Great Reed Warblers were singing in good numbers with at least a dozen present.  Reed Warblers, Reed Buntings, Bearded Tits and Fan-tailed Warblers were also encountered.  Large numbers of hirundines passed overhead together with Swifts and other indicators of migration were passing Blue-headed Wagtails and a couple of male Wheatears on the track.

Great Reed Warbler

We turned around and walking back watched a White Stork come in from the west and begin feeding voraciously amongst the other birds.  The wind precluded hearing many of the marsh birds but Water Rails and Little Grebes were picked up.  We decided to walk down the smaller track to a small bridge and were rewarded by a Night Heron, 2 Great Spotted Cuckoos and a singing Short-toed Treecreeper.  Arriving back to the car a Quail called from the meadows and  a superb male Pied Flycatcher greeted us from a nearby bush.

Night Heron

As we left the area we just had time to admire a splendid male Woodchat Shrike a fitting conclusion to a great morning.

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