Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Near Miss

I'm writing this from Muriel's stern whilst watching a Common Tern fishing beside us! Lovely!

I've had two sorties away from the boat to do a spot of birding. On Sunday I risked life and limb to have a look at Swarkestone Lake. I didn't expect to find much as it's mainly a boating lake, but an Osprey did happen by a week or so ago, so I thought I'd go & have a look. Not being a member of the sailing club I could only see it from the roads, the main one crossing the extremely long Swarkestone Bridge which has 17 arches & is just under a mile long. It was built in the 13th Century so unsurprisingly isn't very good at handling 2 way traffic. Most of the pavement is only about a foot wide, in places even less than that, so I spent much of my time dodging wing mirrors.  I was lucky to get out of there alive, so wasn't surprise that I didn't see many birds!
Too add insult to near injury, there wan't even a very good view of the lake!

Swarkestone Bridge, some drivers think the 40mph speed limit is a target
I couldn't face the walk back across the bridge so took the long route, circuiting the lake via the lanes. Much more pleasant & I even managed to pick up a Year List bird...a Lesser Whitethroat was skulking in the bushes beside the River Trent. What's more, I only got rained on once!

Bearing in mind that it's virtually impossible to go for any rareties at the moment as I can only get to places by canal & foot at 4mph (max), I almost managed a twitch yesterday. As we were pootling along from Swarkstone to Willington, I checked Birdguides and found that a Little Gull had been seen at Willington Gravel Pits earlier in the morning. By the time I got there it was lunch time & there was no sign of it. However, I had a very pleasant afternoon in the reserve which I didn't even know existed before my 'twitch' to the Red-footed Falcon earlier this month. Even then I didn't go into the reserve as the falcon was on the other side of the River Trent at the time. As ex-gravel pits go, it was very picturesque. I had fantastic views of Reed Warblers that were only a few yards from one of the viewing platforms & making lots of noise, especially the few times that a Hobby flew over. If only I'd had my Canon with me! I also saw my second Lesser Whitethroat of the year. A local birder then showed me another way out of the reserve that took me directly onto the canal bank. Handy. And not a drop of rain all afternoon!

Willington Gravel Pits, a Derbyshire Wildlife Trust reserve
Year List now on 192 + 2

1 comment:

  1. The green grass is really a great view. Thanks for the post. It is greatly appreciated.