APRIL 2011 BIRD NOTES
April Highlights: Great Northern Diver, Sacred Ibis! Red Kite, Osprey and Common Migrants.
Works to isolate Sheepwash Spit and use the spoil to form a protective spit and small island were completed at the beginning of the month. Although the spit is now an island it will retain its historic name ‘Sheepwash Spit’, and the partly submerged spoil spit and island nearer to Sheepwash Hide, already attracting passage waders and terns, will be referred to as Sheepwash Island.
The 3 Great Northern Divers stayed all month, the adult attaining full summer plumage by 27th. The ‘wild’ Barnacle Goose, ringed ADZ, was daily with the feral flock and there were at least 3 pairs with nests by 27th. A Sacred Ibis was at the Wildlife Centre from 1530hrs on 25th, origin unknown but most likely an escapee. Wildfowl counts were; only 2 Little Grebe all month, 42 Great Crested Grebe on 19th, 5 Greylag Geese on 7th and 17th, 59 Canadas on 19th, 32 Barnacles on 4th, 5 Shelduck on 21st, 2 Wigeon on 10th, 2 Gadwall on 17th, 55 adult Mallard on 19th, a pair of Shoveler on 10th, 126 Tufted Duck on 19th, 2 Goldeneye on 20th, 3 Goosander on 15th, and 67 Coot on 19th. Eight broods of Mallard (size; 13-17-7-6-11-7-19-3) were noted by the end of the month. Two Red-legged Partridge were flushed from a path in Fishtail Creek on 2nd.
There were 3 sightings of Red Kite; on 3rd, 6th and 26th during a month when many individuals were noted in Derbyshire. An Osprey delighted many observers from 0832 to 1530hrs at least on 2nd and again on 3rd and probably involves the same bird. A Hobby was seen from the Wildlife Centre on 19th and a Peregrine was noted on 3rd, 7th and 11th.
Wader passage included a maximum of 7 Little Ringed Plover on 14th, 1 Ringed Plover on 1st, 20th and 21st, 3 Dunlin on 9th, 1 Black-tailed Godwit on 19th, 1 Whimbrel on 20th, 23rd and 28th, 4 Curlew on 15th, 2 Greenshank on Sheepwash Island on 28th, 1 Green Sandpiper on Sheepwash Island on 17th and 4 Common Sandpiper, also on Sheepwash Island, on 29th. Most breeding pairs of Oystercatcher, Redshank and Lapwing were settled and sitting tight.
Very few gulls were around, and the noisy Black-headed Gulls vacated their raft breeding base at the Wildlife Centre and moved to the new island at Sheepwash, but no signs of breeding, yet! An immature Mediterranean Gull was at Sheepwash on 25th, 120 Lesser Black-backed were noted on 4th and an immature Yellow-legged Gull was at Sheepwash on 1st. The first tern through was a Common Tern on 1st, with a maximum of 3 on 27th. An Arctic Tern on 26th was followed by a flock of 46 straight through in the evening of 28th. Early Black Tern this year, with 5 off Stones Island from 1800hrs on 20th.
All 3 woodpecker species this month, with Green on 18th and 26th, Lesser Spotted on 9th and Great Spotted daily. Sand Martin passage reached 100+ on 3rd, Swallows 100+ on 13th, House Martins stuck at 2 on 4th and 12th and Swift did not come until 1st May. A Tree Pipit flew over Stones Island on 10th, the first Yellow Wagtail were 2 on 13th, with a maximum of 6 on 18th, only 1 White Wagtail on 13th, Common Redstart on 12th, 13th and 19th, 4 Wheatear on 2nd and a late Fieldfare flock of 50+ flew over Sheepwash on 1st. A Song Thrush pair was feeding fledged young on 28th. Warblers kept arriving with blackcaps everywhere, seemingly outnumbering all others this year. The first Sedge was on 19th, Lesser Whitethroat on 17th and 5 on 27th, Whitethroat on 19th, Garden on 19th and 7 on 27th, 28 Blackcap between Millfields and Hopton via WLC on 27th, 22 Chiffchaff on 4th and 19 Willow Warbler on 27th. A Pied Flycatcher was singing in Hall Wood on 22nd and 3 Tree Creepers were also singing in there on 19th. Horseshoe Island attracted a flock of 15+ Linnet on 11th and 6 Bullfinch were around Sheepwash car park feeder on 18th.
111 Species were recorded compared with 116 in April 2010, 110 in 2009, 118 in 2008, 103 in 2007, 118 in 2006, 117 in 2005, 116 in 2004, 120 in 2003 and 107 in 2002.