Migrants stream through

2nd May 2012
A superb day at Longham Lakes today, one of the most interesting we’ve ever had in the spring. Birders have been given a gift by Sembcorp, in that the water level at both reservoirs has been lowered, and there is mud available on the banks and islands, slap bang in the middle of the spring wader migration.

I took a walk in the morning and was delighted to witness a gathering of waders on the main island which included 7 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Ruffs, 2 Little Ringed Plovers and a Dunlin, as well as 2 White Wagtails. Apart from the godwits, these are all rare birds here, so that was a good start. Some time later another birder visited and saw a Whimbrel. Then, at lunchtime, Lorne Bissell visited and was fortunate to see, not only all the waders, but also an Arctic Tern move through. Hearing news of that, I made a return visit, and while we were waiting unsuccessfully a Hobby and at least 5 Yellow Wagtails showed up, including 4 in one flock.

Meanwhile, Chris Parnell visited later, saw the waders and raised the White Wagtail tally up to 5. Then, to cap it all, George Green saw all the waders plus 2 Turnstones on the island, which are a Longham Lakes first!

Tuesday 1st May
A most interesting morning at Longham. The main highlights were a Hobby feeding over the LR South, the first Shoveler for several weeks – obviously a migrant, a flock of 24 Black-tailed Godwits flying north with a single bird present on the main island in the South Lake along with 4 Redshanks and 4 Common Sandpipers.  Also 2 White Wagtails on the main island. (George Green). Other birds of minor interest included a Cetti’s Warbler singing by the river beyond the South Lake and my first Willow Warbler at Longham this spring.

At around midday there were 2 Hobbies hawking over LR South, and also a Mallard with a brood of 16 ducklings, apparently of two sizes (Alan Pearce). The group of godwits reached 28.

Monday 30th April
Roger Peart: “When I arrived this morning at about 9.30am there were at least 30 Swifts over the river by the bridge and upstream near the waterworks, together with a few House Martins. One or two swifts appeared near the ringing patch too. It’s good to see them back again. They didn’t seem to be around when I left after 12 noon. While dealing with the rides I was aware of several Reed Warbers singing and also at least one each of Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Whitethroat. There was also a Cetti’s Warbler between ‘the clump’ and the bushes near the river.”

Meanwhile, 3 immature Little Gulls at longham this morning, one developing a hood. Also two Common Tern, one Common Sandpiper and amazing numbers of House Martins, certainly outnumbering Swallows and Sand Martins by at least 4 to one. Lots of Swifts too (Chris Parnell).

Saturday 28th April
Chris Parnell: Got to the lakes just before the real rain started, river very flooded. Good numbers of Swift, Swallow, House Martin and Sand Martin. One Little Gull, briefly, which probably went out over the floods. Rarest of all was only my second site record of Nuthatch, with a beak full of flies which probably indicates it’s breeding nearby.

Thursday 26th April
3 Little Gulls this morning. Also Swift and 9 Mediterranean Gulls (George Green).

Tuesday 24th April
Chris Parnell: “First Swifts at the lake today with House Martins. Also 2 Common Sandpipers and 2 Med Gulls. One drake Pochard too. Something of the visit was spoiled when i met another birder who told me he’d seen Black-tailed Godwit and a Curlew fly over when I was at the other side of the lake. Looked for them in the horse fields but no luck. Curlew would have been a patch tick! (He told me it was definitely not a whimbrel)”.

Saturday 21st April
3 Mandarin Ducks (2 males) on the Stour below Longham Bridge today (Alan Pearce).

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