Sunday, 10 August 2014

2000 views!!! Black Hole Marsh, My Granny's Allotment and Mudbank Ln 8th August 2014

Hi, after two succesful days on the trot I was hoping for a third by going to the trusty Black Hole Marsh! This time however, my Grandma and I started on the boardwalk that led up to two different hides that were well worth a look at!

Our first hide overlooked a small lagoon lined by a few reeds on the left hand side and a small yellow flower that covered the front, back and right hand side of the lagoon, giving it a meadowy effect. The first bird I found was a Green Sandpiper, there were two round the lagoon that stuck out like saw thumbs due to its prominent white chest. Another scan of the lagoon revealed 18 Lapwings, some Ads and quite a few juveniles.

There was more in store though, one of my Grandma's "random scans" through a pond in front of us revealed a very smart Common Sandpiper! I took about 8 photos until this one cropped up and I believe to be a good picture, considering the reflection.
Quick tip for beginners, the white notch infront of its wing is  a pointer for i.d.
Another look by the side of the lagoon revealed a winter plumage Greenshank, unfortunately tucked up on one leg, it didn't warrant a picture. The best thing though was some Common Snipe that fed right by the side of the lagoon. Counting the brown/gold backs I found at least 12 different snipe. *Warning, excuses!* The heathaze prevented me getting a clear shot. I was very pleased seeing 12 native snipe, you won't find this in many places (forget Scotland!)
Can you see the Snipe then?

I don't know what it is with this site but again adrenalin does seem to be in the air here... A quick shout from me "Red Grouse, Red Grouse!" After a consultation with my Grandma a hen Pheasant came out! I tell you there is something about there that puts you off guard! Here is the Pheasant...
What a beautiful Red gr... I mean Pheasant!
The next hide does show potential but further management is needed to prevent overgrowth. Yet another man had a chat not with me this time but with my Grandma stating my enthusiasm. Was it in a good way or disturbs the birds way we will never know... Another thing of note is a reed bed behind both of the hides that looks fantastic! This reserve has endless possibilities, I've even heard that they're going to a flood another field nearby for Bittern, WOW! Again management will make this a hotspot for Spotted Crake and Water rail I'm sure.

I think the main reason we came here again was to get pictures of the Wood Sandpiper and other wildlife. So my next task was to relocate one of the Wood Sandpipers. My Granny had gone back to the car to drive it round to the normal car park while I was making my way to the Island Hide. When on the "final straight" to the Island Hide I found a gate that had a few holes cut out. So with my Grandmas scope in my hand and binoculars at the ready nearly as soon as I found the water the Wood Sandpiper was there, posing in the "millpond".
I like this shot!
The Wood Sandpiper is magnifacent, now rated highly in my birds. The elegance in which it paces and ease makes it easily identifable in my opinion. The birds jizz fits this setting. How can this bird only be down to 10-20 pairs in Scotland. I may start the Wood Sandpiper day for protection, these deserve as much recognition as Hen Harriers, I am that keen on Wood Sandpipers!

Moving on... I met my Grandma in the hide with a very nice, kind local couple. We spotted the Wood Sand pair again and had great views with it being around only 10M's from the hide! but it wasn't just the Wood Sands that were impressive even the Black-tailed Godwits were pleasing...
I love the orange!
Another shot of the Wood Sandpiper...
Shortly after this shot I decided to have a qick look over the estuary and managed to find a few whimbrel but not much else...
Note: Black crown.
After enjoying yet another great visit to the Axe Wetalands my Granny and I went off to her alotment to pick some blackberries. Nothing much happended as expected but after my Granny reminded me of her Slowworm families, I was straight away in search of some! The next few shots will be from my Grannies camera...
Slowworm holding, returned to original place, don't worry!

Six were underneath here!

Slowworn watch! Look at my dresscode GOD!!!
It seems happy!!!
In total I found 14+ Slowworms and 1 fat frog

Later on that day I went to mudbank lane to check up on the gulls. We found a nice amount of common Gulls thankfully most were juveniles and 3 Med Gulls...

Grey Heron landing, like this one!

One of the winter plumage Med Gulls
Great day birding but I can't thank my Grandma enough for being the "taxi driver" for the week and making it all happen, I would have seen none of these birds! Full list from both Black Hole Marsh and Mudbank Ln: 

1 comment:

  1. Great blog post and photos Alex , i could feel your enthusiasm coming through fantastic , Wood Sandpipers are one of my fav waders too :-)