Sunday, 3 April 2011

West Hartford Continues...

West Hartford has enjoyed a decent birding-run over the last two weeks or so, with great white egret being added to the patch list just over a week ago and then a steady trickle of good West Hartford birds / signs of Spring... chiffchaff have arrived, a couple of sand martin have passed through, grey partridge are calling, short-eared owl are semi-regular (though not tonight!), peregrine (Monday), 5 goosander through, and tonight... another summer migrant.

It was rather cold tonight, but the clear conditions were enough to get me out for a couple of visits. Late afternoon was quiet and is hardly worth a mention.

Late evening - dusk was much cooler but more satisfactory, as the first scan west to east over the fields, River Blyth and pond produced the aforementioned migrant - a mighty osprey!

Actually, this was almost predictable... the north-east has seen a good passage of these fish-hawks through the region today - indeed, a quick scan of RBA reveals three in Durham and one in Northumberland...

It looked a bit like this -

Osprey - Florida, January 2006

... but it was really quite far away! The bird was a couple of hundred feet up, loafing in a NW direction , roughly above the River Blyth. It's funny how things turn out - Phil and I had been talking earlier this week about new birds for West Hartford (I fancy a Spoonbill by the way!) - and we never really discussed osprey...

This was my second osprey in Cramlington - the last being a two day bird at Arcot Pond in May 2003. This bird also turned up on a Sunday evening and was even fishing the pond! I arrived early the next morning armed with a trsty 3 mega pixel compact camera and scope, and to great suprise, found the osprey perched in the dead trees at the west of the pool (where in 2010 the 1s hobby rested - Cramlington is such a mecca!!)

Osprey - Arcot Pond, May 2003

So, with osprey added to the West Hartford list (I must count my tally up...), here are my anticipated species for the future -

  1. Spoonbill - why not? If Castle Island can draw them in no reason why WH can't either
  2. Little Egret - long overdue, beaten by its' larger relative last week!
  3. Tawny Owl - already seen and heard by others, I've been too lazy to venture out at the right time.
  4. Pectoral Sandpiper - Arcot has had them in the autumn, other waders have found WH to their liking...
  5. Bittern - There is a nice reed bed forming south of the pool, may be one hard winter will bring one in?
  6. Red Kite - only a matter of time.
  7. Reed Warbler - habitat getting better.
  8. Great Grey Shrike - outside chance on passage - Arcot has had one
  9. Common Redstart - infrequent through Cramlington on passage (though I did have one in my parents garden many moons ago!)
  10. Cuckoo - a tricky bird in Cramlington, but possible.


Unknown said...

Great report John, just wondering have there been avocets on the water in the past?

John Malloy said...

Yes - Single bird on 01 April 2004.

Crammy Birder said...

I had always though Osprey but forgot to mention it. A few more firsts for WH I thought of: Spotted Crake, Water Pipit, Red Rumped Swallow,Spotted Flycatcher and Nuthatch. There have been a lot of LBB Gulls over the last week at WH and you saw the Osprey at dusk, I have my doubts :)