Migrant Abundance

Ask most British birders what their favourite time of year is and it will likely be March-May. The peak of spring migration can make for great birding both in numbers and species and so far this year, I’m having some good luck!

I went out for a quick 45 minute walk around Orton Brick Pit yesterday producing several different Migrants. The first I encountered in the North corner was a singing Willow Warbler. This bird seems to like this particular corner and has been present for my last few walks.

Willow Warbler – Singing it’s distinctive song atop a perch.

I should take this time to say that I’ve been birding almost exclusively with binoculars and scope of late and as such, bringing the camera along too is a bit too much effort. All of the pictures you see on this post were taken with my iPhone through the lens of my Scope. Not ideal but having a scope in the field is crucial most of the time!

Given that spring has truly begun, wildfowl numbers on the brick pit have dropped accordingly. The main species on there now being Coot, Tufted duck and Great Crested Grebe. I wasn’t expecting great things on the water so headed straight for the rough ground on the north west shore.

Scanning the wader scrapes which have formed up there produced Little Ringed Plover, a pair. I have heard these birds in Hampton before but never seen so I was pleased to get them officially under the belt! A distant orchestra of Cetti’s and Sedge warblers could both be heard singing from the western reed bed and a pair of swallow circled overhead.

As I picked up my scope and turned around, a Sparrowhawk swooped straight down in front of me, killed one of the flock of 15 linnet and flew off with the kill in it’s talons.

walking back towards home I managed to connect with wheatear – the continuing female from a couple of weeks ago. However as I ploughed on through the thick vegetation, I became aware of a flock of birds on the ground some 6ft in front of me. It turned out to be a party of 15 Yellow Wagtail! A great addition to my Hampton List.

Yellow Wagtail – Not taken in Hampton but taken a week prior on the Deeping High Bank. None of the 15 individuals were blue headed but I will continue to try!

Between the high ground and home I managed to pick up Blackcap and chiffchaff. Another nice bird to see was the resident Great-spotted Woodpecker. Not a migrant, but a lovely bird.

Great-spotted Woodpecker

All in all, a good set of migrants and brings my Hampton List up to 87 for the year. Not bad going!

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