Up nice and early at 4.45am for a mornings Ringing session at Whitburn Coastal Park. While we were waiting for John to arrive and open the gate, Phil spotted a young Fox in the allotment field opposite the Park. A very nice start to the day! Ringing was much better today than the last couple of weeks. Fifteen individual birds of nine different species, including a new Ringing tick for me, an adult Garden Warbler. Andy had another go with a Wren, and this time he managed to get a Ring on before it escaped his grip! Bless him. Around 7.30am John got a phone call from Davey Gilmour who was over in Trow Quarry. He had found a very good bird, a Woodchat Shrike (above). So myself and Phil headed over and joined him. As we were pretty much the first people on site we had superb views of the bird perched out in the open and then hopping from shrub to shrub. I then put the message out to everyone and headed back to the Ringing hut. I later found out that as more people turned up the bird became more and more elusive. It was lucky I got there early!
Nick arrived just before 9.00am to check the moth trap and he sprung a surprise on me by asking me to identify all the moths! As I didnt have my book with me I have to admit I struggled to start with but a good few pointers from Nick helped me no ends. As I'm still very new to moths this kind of help is invaluable. In the end there were 17 different species including 2 new ones for me, Mouse Moth and Antler Moth (above).
After a couple of hours break to attend a christening, I headed off to Saltholme to try to catch up with another rare bird that had arrived recently, a White Winged Black Tern (above). I've seen them in Cyprus before but never in the UK so was really looking forward to seeing it. On arrival I checked at the reception and thankfully was told that the bird was still around so off I headed to the Allotment Pool. As I approached I spotted a familiar face, Derek Charlton, so went and joined him. The target bird was very easy to spot as it was flying around right in front of us. It was a gorgeous bird in almost full summer plumage which made things even better. But then we got an added bonus! Another rare bird, a Blue Winged Teal, had been in the area for a week or so but was apparently extremely elusive so I didnt really think I'd get the chance to see it. But as we scanned the reeds on the far side low and behold we found the Teal. Excellent! At first it was sleeping just in front of the reeds but then it was spooked by first a Coot and then a pair of Gadwall forcing it out in the open for a few minutes before heading deep into the reedbed. This was turning out to be a very good day!
On the walk back to the car I walked across a meadow kicking up a few species of Butterfly and also two new Dragonflies for the year, a Ruddy Darter and an Emperor Dragonfly (above). I went home very happy.