Saturday, 15 March 2014

New bird for the scrape

Spring and the lovely spring-like weather continues apace and today it was time to retrieve last years lambs, now known as shearlings if they're Southdowns, tugs if they're Romneys or hoggets if they go to market, from their wintering quarters. First job was to worm and move the 2 rams, Colin and Bradley, from the marsh they were on, an easy task which also gave time to have a good look at our scrape. The Lapwings were still in residence and still displaying. They've been joined by 3 Oystercatchers and now 2 Redshanks feeding along the muddy edge, all annual summering visitors to the area. Dropping the water level has really brought the scrape to life and we are privileged to have the ringing sounds of  wader calls as a background to work outdoors.
Getting the shearlings out to their allotted marsh was a harder task as they were more keen on renewing acquaintance with 3 other young sheep I had brought in at the start of February for shearing in preparation for the summer shows. Eventually they reached their destination and it was time for another look at the scrape. A Snipe had joined the Redshanks and then I noticed a small wader, a Dunlin, wow! OK, so its only one Dunlin, hardly something to get excited about most would say, but it was the first since the neighbours once arable fields flooded one winter many years ago and it also suggests the scrape is attractive to passing migrant waders. Spring passage could be interesting I hope.
Later this afternoon, Fieldfares and Redwings were moving along the valley edge and this evening more new birds, a pair of Shoveler, were feeding on the scrape. Birds seem to be on the move.

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