Saturday, 25 April 2009


Joined Andy Field and Steve Entwistle for an evening walk along the Reeveshall seawall on Saturday 25th. Amongst the usual scattering of 24 greylag and Canada geese feeding on the fields, was a white goose similar to a snow goose although it was appreciably smaller than the nearby greylags and appearing brent goose-size. The goose was obviously an escape from a collection but we were curious as to whether it may've been a Ross's goose, as opposed to a larger snow goose. Unfortunately the bird was too far off to get the finer details of the reddish beak which would've helped with sorting out which species it was.

Feeding with a pair of greylag geese on the saltmarsh was the first sighting this year on the Island of a feral barnacle goose. A small group of 30 brent geese were seen in flight over Langenhoe.

On the Reeveshall pool during the evening were 26 shelduck, little egret, 4 teal, up to 17 black-tailed godwits, redshank and mallard, whilst pochard flew over. On the main field 6 wheatears were noted including one group of 5 birds, also 4 golden plover in the field and a whimbrel on the saltings. A pair of marsh harriers carried out a food pass to each other over the Reeveshall reedbed, in the same general area where the sound of a cuckoo was heard. Andy watched a hobby fly over the fields from the direction of Langenhoe - the first sighting on the Island this year.

On Langenhoe at least four marsh harriers were seen in the air, occasional birds flying over the gull colony on Rat Island sending thousands of mainly black-headed gulls into the air. A short-eared owl was seen briefly hunting low over the marshes as was a barn owl.

At least half a dozen sand martins passed over and one or two swallows as well. A brightly marked yellowhammer sat up on a fence as we walked back off Reeveshall at dusk. Four brown hares were more active in the fields as the light faded.

Earlier in the day at the country park, 6 avocets were seen on the saltmarsh pools near the Point, 3 greenshank dropped down onto one of the flooded fields where a mallard had a very young brood of 13 ducklings. There still seems to be about 6 pairs of lapwings with just the one brood so far of 3 youngsters. A brown hare was seen in the wheat field by Bromans Lane at dusk.

There has been no further news or sightings of a hoopoe seen on the army ranges on Langenhoe by some of the range wardens on Thursday. Andy Field and Richard Hull visited earlier today but only noted a common buzzard in the area where the hoopoe was seen. Also turtle dove, reed warbler, nightingale and greenshank on the ranges.

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