MAY 2011 BIRD NOTES
May Highlights: Black-throated and Great Northern Divers, Red Kite, Osprey, Hobby, Sanderling, Ruff, Turnstone, first summer Arctic Tern, Black Tern and Waxwing.
The month started with an adult Great Northern Diver in summer plumage (check out photos on website!) and 2 first summer GND, only the adult and 1 immature on 3rd and, on 7th, the adult was displaying to the immature which fled site. The adult stayed on until 18th, the day a first summer Black-throated Diver arrived. A photo of the BTD revealed a few moulted flight feathers and it was still present on 31st. Will it summer moult here like one in 2003? Only 4 Little Grebe on site, so 2 chicks on 23rd were welcome. Great Crested Grebe totalled 41 on 17th but breeding success will be limited by falling water levels leaving nests high, dry and likely to fail at egg stage. There was a further brood of Mallard, taking the total to 9 and the first Coot brood, of 2, was noted on 23rd. Significant wildfowl counts were 4 Greylag on 9th, 15 Barnacle including wild ‘ADZ’ on 7th, 2 Shelduck on 25th, 2 Mandarin on 13th and 29th, a drake Wigeon from 12th, 4 Gadwall on 31st, 2 Teal on 11th, 66 Mallard, excluding young, on 17th, a pair of Red-crested Pochard from 12th, 2 Pochard on 30th, 80 Tufted Duck on 17th, a female Goosander on 24th and 68 Coot on 17th.
Raptors were active with a Red Kite over Sheepwash on 15th and Ospreys on 5-6th, 9th, 19th and 23rd. The bird on 5th landed on the new Osprey platforms, where it consumed a fish and roosted overnight. Photographs of this Osprey on the perch featured in several local newspapers, but subsequent tracing of its ring identification showed it to be a Scottish bird just passing through northbound. Sparrowhawk were noted carrying prey on 9th, 15th and 16th and 5 Buzzards were in the air on 9th. Hobby was noted on 9th and 23rd and 2 on 26th. A female Peregrine posed in front of Sheepwash Hide on 3rd, others were noted on 15th and 22nd, then, on 24th, one took a Common Tern which was peacefully perched with its mate in front of Sheepwash Hide.
Wader breeding so far is 2 broods from Oystercatchers, 3 from Lapwing and 2 from Redshank. A good selection of passage waders included 7 Little Ringed Plover on 25th, 1 Ringed Plover from 15th, 2 Sanderling on 18th, 9 Dunlin on 18th, 1 Ruff on 21st, 2 Snipe on 1st, a Black-tailed Godwit on 3rd, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit on 3-4th, 3 Whimbrel on 17th, 3 Curlew on 10th, a Greenshank on 5th, a Green Sandpiper on 4th, 4 Common Sandpiper on 3rd and 2 Turnstone on 31st.
The Black-headed Gull colony at the Wildlife Centre eventually took over the tern raft on 12th, following them abandoning it, leaving a dead gull there last month. Some started nesting in front of Sheepwash and on Flat Island. The local breeding pair of Common Tern were mating, then took up residence on Flat Island on 14th. A flock of 27 Common Terns flew through high north on 15th. The maximum number of Arctic Terns was 6 through east on 1st and a first summer Arctic landed at Sheepwash for a while on 21st, a rare event for this age group to be seen in Derbyshire. A Black Tern went through on 3rd.
The first Swift arrived on 1st, Reed Warbler on 7th and the first Spotted Flycatcher seen was already nest building on 24th. A wintering Waxwing calling for a few minutes from a treetop on 1st was a late surprise and a Marsh Tit in Tail Bay is the first since July 2008. There were a welcome number of records of common breeding birds including 10 nests of Tree Sparrow all being fed in a multi-nest box on 12th.
111 Species compared with 106 in May 2010, 108 in 2009, 112 in 2008, 103 in 2007 and 107 in 2006