While I waited for Dave to arrive I wandered around the Netherstead area, hearing Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, and my first Sedge Warbler of the year. A Peregrine sat on a distant pylon and a male Wheatear ran around in one of the horse paddocks.
Dave appeared and we set off on our usual circuit. We reached the chat field where we scanned unsuccessfully for chats, but all that was forgotten when we realised we could hear a Grasshopper Warbler reeling. It repeated its song well enough for us to get a rough bearing as to which end of the field it was, but I'm afraid that was that. After fifteen minutes it hadn't sung again, we're not very patient at the best of times, and we decided to abandon it and head for the pool.
The pool was unusually productive. Nine Tufted Ducks, a Snipe, and a pair of Gadwall had joined the resident Mute Swans.
|A pair of Gadwall|
We reached the flash field full of optimism, but saw only the pair of Gadwall, presumably the same birds as earlier, five Teal, three Green Sandpipers, a few Lapwings, and a Little Ringed Plover. This afternoon I picked up a text from Mike from yesterday in which he revealed he had seen amongst other things, a Common Sandpiper here.
Back to the present, we followed the footpath back until we reached the ploughed field where we found six more Wheatears, four males and two females. A couple of the males showed excellently for a while.
We had seen quite a few Orange Tips flying past, but the one butterfly I managed to photograph was a Speckled Wood.
However, the visit ended on a slightly frustrating note as a phrase of song broke through our chatting leaving us both wondering whether we had just heard a Garden Warbler. We waited around for a while but whatever it was remained silent. I didn't record any Garden Warblers here last year, so it would have been on a par with the Grasshopper Warbler if we had been able to confirm it.
A darn good visit nonetheless.