Long time no blog. it has been a long time since I have had a good day out birding, but today Pam took me to Oare Marsh Reserve. There was a reason for wanting to go there today, and that was because I have been reading for the last few days or so about a Bonaparte's Gull in the area. Apart from going there to try to see if it is still around, I haven't been to Oare for a very long time.
I was expecting to see a good number of people there especially being a bank holiday, and a very warm and sunny day it was, but I was surprised when I got there at just how empty it was.
We pulled in and parked up in the disable parking bay half way down the road in the lay by
on the right.
After setting up the scope I noticed 7 people looking across the where there was a few dozen B/H/Gulls roosting, straight away I thought of one thing, the gull I was hoping to see, after scanning through them it didn't take to find it, the 1st summer BONAPARTE'S GULL. And also one for the Life List. It is a vagrant from North America. It is smaller than a B/H/Gull and has a shorter black bill and shorter legs. It was quite content to spend all it's time on the island resting. What a good start to the visit.
While watching the Gull something caught my eye off to the left of it swimming towards the reeds, it was a surprise to me, it was a GRASS SNAKE. The other species of bird seen from here was as follows: Coot, Moorhen, Common Gull, L/B/B/Gull, Common Tern, Greylags many with goslings, Little Egret(4), Mute Swan, Cormorant, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Shelduck, Pochard, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Black Tailed Godwits( not a good day for waders), Kestrel, C/Crow.
I had a look on the river but that turned out to be a bad idea, the only birds seen from the causeway was a Common Tern sitting on top of one of the posts, and 3 Marsh Harriers across the river riding the thermals to the left of the church.
On the way back up the road we stopped for a while so that I could have a scan around over the west side. The most obvious being a Cuckoo that just wouldn't shut up, I am not complaining because I finally saw it on top of a distant pole. I was approached by 2 other birders who was heading in the opposite direction and they said they had just been watching 3 HOBBY'S. They pointed me in the right direction, I didn't see 3 but I did see 2. About 15 minutes later a Common Buzzard was soaring around high in blue sky.
I strolled a short distance over the west side to see if I could add any more birds to the days and I did managed a few. The first being a few Skylarks which always makes a summer day seem that much better. Also seen was Meadow Pipit, Common Whitethroat, W/Pigeon, C/Dove, Pheasant, H/Sparrow, Blackbird, Starling(in good numbers) Wren, Sedge Warblers, a Grey Heron shot up out of the reeds, Magpie.
In the scrub area behind the paddock among the brambles and bushes 3 species of butterfly was seen; Small White, Common Blue and a Speckled Wood. The second 2 go on the butterfly year list.
** Picking my "Bird of the Day" is easy, my lifer the ** BONAPARTE'S GULL **