Monday, 28 April 2008

Beddington SF 24th April 08

With a lot being seen at Beddington SF lately I decided to head down there again on Thursday. I know a few of the regulars there and was looking forwards to meeting them again as well as the migrants. the Beddington SF website said that the farm had Common Tern, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Little Gull and Little Egret the previous day. So I had high hopes. The farm had even better passage a couple of days before so who knew what would have turned up when I went.
As soon as I arrived I heard an odd sounding Blackcap and with the Garden Warbler sighting yesterday, I was suspicous. Soon Roger came walking down the track, the two of us stood there for about 10 minutes until a couple of Blackcaps flew out.
Roger and Johnny went over to look for the Garden Warbler and I joined them, it was a longer walk than I expected and even though I'm pretty regular at Beddington it was the first time I saw the '100 acre' lake. We had left our scopes in the 'hide' but managed to pick up a Greenshank even so and there were the usual pair of Shelduck flying around.
As we neared the Garden Warbler spot, Johnny picked up a Bird of Prey going over. At first he claimed it as a Buzzard but when we all got onto it we realised there was something wrong about it. I had certainly seen nothing quite like it before. It was big enough for someone to think it a Buzzard at first glance but its flight pattern was wrong, its wing shape was wrong, it was about 2/3 the size of a Buzzard and had pointed wings. I was playing with the idea of Goshawk in my head, and dismissed the idea immediately until Johnny said it did look a bit like one but we all knew there was no way of confirming the sighting, it was silhouetted all the time it was in view. I am trying to get the bird out of my head as it will just lead to more wishful thinking, but I still can't help thinking it wasn't a Buzzard and it didn't look quite right for female Sparrowhawk, come to think of it the flight pattern was a it dodgy for Sparrowhawk. Anyway, we'll never know and just have to call it a female Sparrowhawk.
After a bit more walking we reached the fence (used by the birders here as the recording boundary, you cannot count anything seen on the other side of the fence) where there was a bit of scrub and some oak trees. Chaffinches, Tits and Blackcaps were seen. One singing male came extremely close, if only I had my camera I would have got superb photos. Other than the above mentioned species, there was nothing and we waited and waited and waited until Johnny got a phone call from Kev who was in the hide saying that he'd seen a Hobby around the lake! I felt my heart sink when I heard him say in reply 'Hobby around the lake! Thanks for that Kev we'll keep a look out'. I felt my hopes of seeing the birds slowly diminish as we continued to wait for a bird which was not going to show, even though I would love to see a Garden Warbler. Eventually Johnny admitted the bird was not going to show. I had ten minutes until I had to leave.
On arriving back at the hide I heard that the Hobby was gone and even worse, a Peregrine had flown over! A few quick scans with the scope I found nothing else of interest. But then I heard a song I had only seen on birding computer programmes and DVDs, the rattling song of my first Lesser Whitethroat! Soon Kev picked it up and I got onto it, brief and partial but I saw it. A much needed lifer! They breed across the road from me but I've still never seen one. At least some good came of the day.

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