Monday, 28 December 2015

Winter Wonderland...not

There's little doubt about it, the current run of unseasonally warm weather is having a huge impact on our wildlife. The lack of cold weather has seen dozens of plant species in flower that shouldn't be out yet, a lack of birds in gardens as supplementary food supplies aren't needed and a general lack of the usual winter bird species we all expect to see. A visit to Axmouth in Devon yesterday produced just a single Mediterranean Gull among the mix of gulls on the river as well as a black redstart near the yacht club but little else of note. It has been very quiet indeed.

Med Gull, Axmouth: R. Harris

That said I finally got a chance to take a look for the long-staying Dusky Warbler at Ham Wall this morning and couldn't wait to get out there. I picked up Dave Helliar and we arrived on site at 10am to learn that it hadn't been seen (or heard) since around 08:30....Hmmm, starting to smell like a dip already!

We stood there for three hours looking at this:

Hoping to see one of these:

But instead only saw a few of these...

...and not much else :-(

The last half hour helped alleviate the frustration when the Glossy Ibis put in an appearance and a couple of Great White Egrets flew across the reeds in the distance. As Dave pointed out, 20 years ago we would have been more than happy to see either one of those. Although great to see they are almost expected today, particularly the GWE's. How times have changed. A male Marsh Harrier also put in an appearance.

About 100m away but it saved the day.

A little more surprising was this Perez's Frog Pelophylax perezi still showing well on the ponds by the car park.

Perez's Frog Pelophylax perezi : R. Harris
What was slightly gutting was the Tweet Dave read out on the way home 'Dusky Warbler again at Ham Wall at 13:15'...a full 12 minutes after we'd given up and left. Ah well, where would be without the ups and downs of birding, it's all part of the reason we do it. Maybe next time...

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