Lockdown Diary: Friday 3.4.20

Some friends who are into ‘noc-migging’ [sound recording birds flying over at night, so on nocturnal migration, hence noc-mig] tell me last night saw decent movements of ducks over their gardens, including sea ducks, like Common Scoters. At Ferry Meado...

Some friends who are into ‘noc-migging’ [sound recording birds flying over at night, so on nocturnal migration, hence noc-mig] tell me last night saw decent movements of ducks over their gardens, including sea ducks, like Common Scoters. At Ferry Meadows CP, this morning, I had no such fancy stuff (at least on record), but I did record a fly-through Shelduck. That was a piece of wildfowl ‘patch silver’, you could say, as these are pretty scarce birds in the country park.
The lakes of Ferry Meadows CP are clustered on the inside of a meander of the River Nene, and many birds using the river’s flyway cut across the meander, and so the lakes on the journey inland or to the sea. This Shelduck, was heading up river and cut right across Gunwade Lake, where I saw it and ticked it as my 87th species for the park, this year.
This was ‘technically’ the ‘best bird’ of what turned to be a busy and excellent couple of early morning hours’ action in the park. Other highlights, though, included a notable increase in the number of singing Blackcaps, including some real virtuoso singers. I even saw a male carrying straw-like nesting material, black cap erect , as if to impress a nearby female.
Other flirtatious behaviour included a noisy pair of Water Rails, following each other closely and calling a loud, Great Spotted Woodpecker-like ‘pick pick’ call. I am not sure if I have seen two Water Rails quite so close together before, even appearing to feed on tadpoles. While enjoying the Water Rails, I heard a Cetti’s Warbler call, my first in the park in 2020 (88th species, not that I am counting… ). There were drumming Great Spotted Woodpeckers, lots of singing Greenfinches, Goldfinches and Chiffchaffs (but no singing Chaffinches, which have become decidedly scarce).
And as I was cycling back home past the woods, I glanced towards where a friend of mine had shown me a Red Kite nest a few weeks back. Not a foot away from the nest, a kite was perched, in the open, hiding in plain sight. I kept riding, not wanting to disturb it. A good morning.