I dunno, a couple of days of better weather and a spring equinox and everything changes!

Here is the summary of sightings from today…

From Bolton Ings, John Seeviour recorded eight chiffchaff, two green woodpecker and a jay among a full list that can be found here. Thanks John.

John Clarkson at Edderthorpe reported that the recent smew was still present along with a pintail, two oystercatcher, three redshank and four chiffchaff. Thanks John.

Meanwhile the news from Gary Stones at Adwick Washland was of twenty-one avocet, more than twenty redshank and five ringed plover. His full list can be found here. Thanks Gary.

Easy to overlook, a green sandpiper on the Wader Scrape today

Some of Old Moor’s resident birds are getting quite canny you know! My trip onto the reserve today was a little delayed when a moorhen put her lobbed foot onto the zebra crossing as I drove towards the car park. Unhurried, she then picked her way across the road!

In the Tree Sparrow Farm today the highlights included five brambling and a yellowhammer. There was also a chiffchaff singing and, in the distance, a green woodpecker yaffling.

High above the reedbeds, a buzzard looking for a meal today

Frogspawn adorned the ponds today including the small raised pond near the Visitor Centre. Meanwhile, on the Reedbed Trail, the booms of a bittern could be heard throughout the day. Also seen here were a marsh harrier and – though best viewed from the Wader Scrape Hide – a barn owl.

Who’s that in the doorway?

The Mediterranean gull was on or off island one of the Mere depending on your luck. As yet, there is no sign of his mate. Also seen heading over the Mere today were three sand martin, though they seemed not to stay long.

Oystercatcher could be found on the Field Pool and on the back of the Mere. With these waders but feeding on the Scrape were ringed plover, green sandpiper and redshank.Over on Wath Ings, two great crested grebe began their famous courtship display.

Always check the reed edge! To the left of centre here, is the outline of a hidden bittern.

But for me, much of the drama of the day happened in the skies above Wath Ings. Here throughout the late morning and afternoon, a hungry buzzard circled. Each time it took off, it got the attention of the gulls who were keen to see the back of it. At the forefront of this aerial battle were the lesser black-backs. With a similar wingspan to the buzzard, the gulls first flew above it and then dived, screeching, only to pull back at the last minute.

Eventually, the buzzard – with its cover blown – was forced to land. It waited for the fuss to die down before trying its luck again a few minutes later.

One frustrated buzzard!

Of course some birds are smarter than others and, while the moorhen might have worked out the Green Cross Code, jackdaws are even smarter.

Today a pair of jackdaws carefully picked over the grass in front of the Wader Scrape Hide, looking for food. There was nothing visible on the surface and a lot of noise around them but they appeared to be listening intently before probing the damp soil. Even more intriguing, (and thanks to writing this blog) I watched two jackdaw exploiting exactly the same food source on 21 March last year.

Until next time.

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