Thursday, 4 August 2016

4th August

A few signs of birds on the move this week. A colleague rang me to say she had just seen two Sandwich Terns flying over the town library but the best parish records were two sightings of Hobby, on one occasion scything through a mixed flock of around 100 hirundines.   
On the little remnant flood pools in the bottom fields there has been a turnover of birds. Up to three Green Sandpipers have been present all week (and indeed virtually daily from late June) notwithstanding the regular disturbance from people walking along the path. Despite this I still haven’t managed a creditable picture yet!

Disappointingly, other waders, with the exception of Snipe and Lapwing, have not been attracted yet. Other than this appalling photograph of an unidentified wader photographed at extreme distance. Unfortunately it was flushed by a dog walker before I could get closer. Any thoughts welcome!

There was also this small (presumably young male) Curlew which had a brief passing resemblance to Whimbrel at distance.

Around 50 Black-headed and the odd Common Gull have been regularly seen on there together with young Pied and Yellow wagtails, small groups of Teal and a family party of four Shelduck.

The other day, In next door’s garden, this Dunnock was behaving strangely. I thought it may have been ‘anting’ but there don’t appear to be ants on the bird so it is presumably sunning itself.

Dunnocks, unlike many birds that sunbathe by spreading both their wings, typically do this by lying on their side and raising one wing at a time. It later turned round and did the same with the other wing. There have been various theories as to why they do this from UV light destroying parasites, the production of Vitamin D, that it aids the spread of preen oil or direct improvement of feathers through sunlight. After a few moments it shook itself and was back to a recognisable Dunnock

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