Saturday, 19 April 2014

News from the Marsh

While I was swanning around Norton Pool, it appears that Graham and Chris were doing my job for me:
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Hi Chaz,
We spent a couple of chilly hours over the Marsh this morning. Our main aims were to look for Ring Ouzel or, b) anything else. For the Ouzel, we searched the Pelsall Road area and the Marsh and mineral line areas to no avail. Despite working our way round the island and searching the gulls on the water, we didn't find anything of interest. However, whilst searching, Chris found a Common Sandpiper on the east side of the mere. Unfortunately, it was disturbed by a black Labrador running into that area. It didn't seem to fly far, so may have hung around. We did not do a full circuit.
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Other than that, there was a pair of Gadwall on the Marsh Pool and a Grey Heron flew NE near the Pelsall Road pool and quite a few hirundines.
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Good to read the news about the site getting rid of some of its problems. On that score, the gate under the bridge when you come from Pelsall Road is now padlocked, as is the gate to enter the mere from the marsh. This has been done recently. Were you aware?
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THAT BLOODY BLACK LABRADOR AGAIN! No, I wasn't aware Graham but hopefully its the first indication that the discussions with Natural England are beginning to be enforced? Many thanks to both for 'doing the business' today.
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Incidentally, I neglected to mention that while at Chasewater I saw two apparently domestic Black Rabbits running around the entrance, escapes or deliberate releases? They certainly didn't look like the wild Black Rabbits that we sometimes get on the Marsh.
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These bunnies did do one good thing though, they reminded me to wish you all a very happy Easter - have a good one - Chaz

A visit to Chasewater

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I learned a lesson a long time ago which I had apparently forgotten due to advanced senility. 'You will always need your telescope the first time you haven't got it with you'.
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I decided to go and pay my respects to Chasewater, I had not been up since late winter and it had apparently produced a Garden Warbler yesterday. Given how early we are in the season, I had not expected to be confronted with the identification challenge provided by a passage of Terns.
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On arrival there were three birds present, two passed close enough to give moderately good views and the absence of dark webs in the primaries and the longer than average tail streamers confirmed my suspicion that one at least was an Arctic Tern. The second bird also appeared to be an Arctic and the third bird perched on a distant buoy seemed long winged and short legged enough to be another.
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I carried on and did a full circuit picking up my first Whitethroats for the year (at least four on site today), no Green Hairstreak Butterfly yet but by 13.00 I had arrived back at the Dam. A quick look in Vicarage Woods failed to reveal any sign of the Tawny Owl that had been calling (a Chasewater tick for me!). And I started back along the Dam towards home.
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On the pontoons off the dam were two Tern perched while a third bird flew out toward Chasetown. One of the birds was obviously a Common Tern, just on stature and bill length, but the other bird was obviously an Arctic, slighter in structure, shorter billed and showing a distinct white cheek patch clearly delineated from the slightly grey underparts. The third bird flew back in and the two on the pontoon took flight with it. When I eventually left only one bird appeared to remain, perched on a buoy well beyond the power Boat Club. If I had took my scope with me I would now be giving you a detailed breakdown of the birds present but all I can say for now is that both Common and Arctic Tern were at Chasewater today.
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Lesson learned (again) and it was a good revision exercise anyway. Hopefully this is an indication that our Terns will be arriving in a day or two (21st is our average arrival date) so something else to keep alert for if you visit - Chaz