After being in the doldrums for a while, Marston has picked up a bit of late. A few waders have made things interesting, though the scrape just will not drop sufficiently to draw birds in. The level falls a bit during hot weather but the moment it rains, fills up again. There have been up to five green sandpipers. On the surrounding fields maxima of 18 curlew and 50 lapwings can be seen. The oystercatchers have one surviving chick which is doing well.
Pied and yellow wagtails are around in numbers, both look to have had a good breeding season in the area with many juveniles recorded. They sometimes gather on the turf fields in the evenings, my best count being c85 pied and c50 yellows. A couple of grey partridges were the first I’ve seen for a bit.
A turtle dove came to drink from the scrape one evening, what a joy! A barn owl (or two) shows occasionally late on. Odd hobby and red kites regular. Last week the Lake Windermere ringed greylag goose PZB put in an appearance for the first time since Feb. Heaven knows where it gets to.
On the 20th I was watching a buzzard when a small falcon came into my bin’s field of view. Merlin! Wow! I watched it for a good few seconds thinking to myself ‘am I sure?, its bloody early!’, but yep, it’s jizz, behavior and appearance left me in no doubt. It was lost to view as it went over the fields, putting up a small bird, twisting and turning. It was an all brown bird, juvenile or female.
Yesterday evening I stopped off at Barkston picnic site and walked along the river towards Syston. A field was being ploughed and lots of gulls had homed in on it. I had been expecting them in the area as lots have been seen at nearby Kilvington. They were fairly distant but four yellow-legged gulls were picked out amongst the many lesser-black backs, common and black-headeds. I had been hoping to add ylg to my Marston account for the year so headed off there. On arrival I was gobsmacked-loads of gulls were loafing on the car park field. This was a great treat, they stayed here resting and preening until it was almost dark, before heading off in the direction of Kilvington Lakes. At least nine yellow-legged gulls accompanied around 650 lesser black backs. Interestingly a couple of little egrets flew in and joined the gull flock.
Trev Lee arrived to watch the gulls and we finished with a look in the hide, it was almost dark but we could see some bats flying. They were quite large and appeared to be moth catching above the poplars and over the fields.