Sandwich Terns and Osprey

Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st August 2008
A sucessful weekend's birding produced two more county year ticks, Sandwich Tern and Osprey, taking my total to 199. Fuller highlights are below.

Saturday
On a rare warm day with some sun, me, Andy and Mark (call us 'The Three Amigos' if you must) headed for Sharpness Docks for the high tide. The first highlight was six Yellow Wagtails sat on telegraph wires off Bridge Road, with Linnets and Goldfinches. A juvenile Grasshopper Warbler was a nice find, and showed well, near the Harbourmaster's hut. I'd have gotten a good photo there if I hadn't dropped my lens on my last visit to Sharpness - it's now been sent off as an insurance job and I am really missing it, although it does mean a lot less weight to lug around! Then, at the lifeboat station, two Sandwich Terns passed us heading south at 8.20am, ten minutes before high tide.

A scramble to Slimbridge WWT to try and see a Kentish Plover was unsuccessful, but we got good views of a variety of waders, including three Little Stints, seven Sanderlings and four Turnstones. Many thanks to James Lees for the call. The full list of sightings are on the WWT sightings page with some nice photos taken by James showing what we missed.

In the afternoon, I was taking it easy in the garden when I spotted a Hobby high overhead, checking out no doubt the local House Martins and Swallows and making a nice addition to my garden list.

Sunday
Today, in the drizzle, I went with Andy to Fairford, and after some effort locating the correct vantage point, eventually saw the Osprey at the north end of Broad Water. If anyone else is going there, it's probably best to park along the minor road going north from Fairford at SP155022, and walk down the permissive path to view the expanse of water near the pumping station at SP150021. For a map of the permissive paths around Fairford Park see the Ernest Cook Trust website.

My dear amigo Andy sent me an email earlier with some interesting information on the Osprey:
"The Osprey we saw today (leg ring AY) is called “Nethy”. She was hatched at Loch Garten in May, took her first flight on 20th July and started heading south on the 17th August.
Her brother “Deshar” is currently in Kent. For more info see http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/l/lochgarten/blog.asp". The bird's movements are known because it is fitted with a radio transmitter, and it's movements can be viewed in Google Earth - see this link.


Other sightings of note from Fairford Park included four Great Spotted Woodpeckers, three Blackcaps, 11 Litte Grebes including two juveniles, a pair of Mute Swans with five cygnets, two Cormorants, a Raven and a Stock Dove.

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