Sunday, 10 August 2014

Pennington Marsh 8th August 2014

I had a little bit of time before a survey today so popped down to Pennington Marshes for a couple of hours. The weather was warm and sunny with a south-west breeze and it felt distinctly like early Autumn with the Bramble loaded with ripe blackberries and the Blackthorn clad with sloes.

There are still very few wildfowl around with only 2 Teal and 3 Shoveler amongst the resident Mallards. The Shelduck chicks have now grown and shed their down and have replaced this with their juvenile plumage. In the autumn they will moult again to gain an adult like plumage, first years are still distinguishable from the adults by the white trailing edge to the otherwise black secondaries and primaries.

Shelduck, Pennington Marsh - Simon Colenutt
Juvenile Shelduck Fishtail lagoon

There were good numbers of wader on the lagoons with a total of 4 Greenshank, approximately 250 Dunlin, 350 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Ruff, 6 Little Ringed Plover and 10 Ringed Plover. The Pectoral Sandpiper was still showing well at the west end of Fishtail and at times was feeding alongside the Wood Sandpiper and Ruff.

Dunlin, Pennington Marshes - Simon Colenutt
Dunlin (mainly adult summer) with Black-tailed Godwit and Coot on Fishtail Lagoon. This lagoon is superb this autumn and is attracting large numbers of birds.

Ruff and Wood Sandpiper, Pennington Marsh - Simon Colenutt
Ruff and Wood Sandpiper on Fishtail Lagoon

There were few land migrants but the numbers of Sedge and Reed Warbler seemed high with many yellowish juveniles of the former in the Bramble and lagoon edge vegetation. Hirundines were in evidence with approximately 150 Swallow, 75 House Martin and 25 Sand Martin moving around the area. My first Wheatear of the autumn was present but frustratingly was flushed by two women with dogs as I tried to photograph it, they seemed completely oblivious as they talked nonsense to their animals. Around 15 Swift moved west through the area occasionally foraging low over the lagoons, it won't be long before they are gone.

Wheatear, Pennington Marsh - SImon Colenutt
My first Wheatear of the Autumn

All to soon it was time to make a move and after a short while trying to get onto the M3 which was clogged with traffic due to an accident I abandoned my survey and went into the office.