Sunday, 3 August 2008

3rd August 2008

Visited all 3 lakes today, and found that the water levels of Engine Pool and Windmill Pool have been lowered considerably, causing areas of lakebed to become exposed. There was no sign of the Turnstone, but I met a birdwatcher who'd seen the bird yesterday. I saw the island that he'd seen it on, which was an area of exposed lakebed and not one of the reed islands, in Engine Pool. During the morning, I saw a Common Sandpiper fly over Engine Pool 2 or 3 times; around midday I saw probably the same bird along the southern side of Windmill Pool, where I sneaked up on it and was able to observe it quite closely and for several minutes foraging at the water's edge there. During that time, I was fortunate enough to see a Kingfisher fly over Windmill Pool and land in a bush little more than a few metres from the sandpiper, though the bush obscured my view of the little blue bird. I also saw 3 Common Tern at Engine Pool and Windmill Pool during the early afternoon, including a juvenile that was being fed by an adult. However, Lee J (BirdForum) tells me that he saw 5 Common Terns, as well as 3 Herring Gulls, at the lakes during the afternoon.

Great Crested Grebe numbers are currently low at Earlswood, with a grand total of just 11 counted. Coots also are not abundant there at present, with 3 pairs seen on Terry's Pool and 1 pair on Windmill Pool. Grand totals of 43+ Canada Geese and 3 Cormorants were also determined.

With the exception of Mallards, breeding waterbirds at Earlswood do not appear to have done well this year (so far?). I saw several pairs of Great Crested Grebes and at least a couple of Coot pairs building or sitting on nests earlier in the year, but saw no young of these species today (though Terry's Pool is difficult to watch at the moment with much vegetation surrounding it, so might be hiding young birds). Also, a pair of Mute Swans and their clutch have all mysteriously vanished from Engine Pool (I last saw 1 parent with 4 cygnets on June 17th).

There was a female Mallard with 4 quite-young ducklings on Windmill Pool today.

Addendum for yesterday:
The birdwatcher I met told me that he last saw the Turnstone at 6pm yesterday, and thought that it must've flown off during the night. Interestingly, he said that this was the 3rd individual of this species that he'd seen at the lakes, the previous being one in 2005 (the site first, according to the West Midland Bird Report) and another seen sometime in the 1980s. He also mentioned that he'd seen 3 Common Sandpipers at the lakes yesterday
An Arctic Tern was also at the lakes yesterday and reported on BirdGuides (per S. Seal, Warwickshire Birding).

M.P. Griffiths

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