The dominant sound on Saturdays count at Prestwick Carr was the descending cadence of Willow Warblers as they established territories in the hedgerows all over the area with at least twenty three found over my 2km route and probably many more. The backing track was Grasshopper Warbler with eight to ten reeling birds, one behind my house, five to six up the bumpy road and three to four up the range bridleway. Only one deigned to show itself briefly before dropping back into the grass. None of your Arcot show off's here much to my disappointment but my mood was tempered by the talking bush that is the Whitethroat (No. 91) who chattered away at three locations but was also a bit camera shy. You wait till next week and they'll be throwing themselves off the top of every bush around!
Up the range track the flock of neatly dressed Golden Plover remained numbering 100 or so with at least four Wheatear and still some Fieldfare. ACo and friends were looking without success for the Redstart but had found a Yellow Wagtail No.92 which I later re-located in the horses paddock to the south. As the intrepid threesome set off in search of the Whitethroat a sole Redwing 'kekked' then 'tseeeped' away above the sentry box. With winter and summer migrants in attendance I realised today would be a big count.
After optimistically checking near the golf course for Lesser Whitethroat I headed up to Banks pond and found N0.93, a singing Blackcap in the plantation near Curlew Cottage. The pond held the usual suspects, 2 Canada Geese, 2 Oystercatcher, 2 Mallard, 2 Coot, 2 Moorhen and a Little Grebe with a Chiff Chaff in the wood beyond trying to make itself heard above the clay pigeon shoot!
So the mornings count done, the score was 55 species. After a cancelled meeting in Morpeth up the coast for a nice White Wagtail at Cresswell but far too many folk for my liking so back to the Carr to find this Redstart and would you believe it, the place was heaving with birdwatchers! Howdon Blogger had found a roosting Tawny Owl.
Pretty good roost site with not a clear view possible from any angle, even grovelling on the ground didn't work. Beats me how John found it. Any hoo whilst watching the un-moving Owl the male Redstart flashed past only for the gathered to realise he was chasing another bird. Yes the missus has arrived and hopefully nesting can commence. Just a flash of rear was all we were rewarded with.
After hanging around looking for big bird No.84 without success I re-marked to AF that a Barn Owl on the way home would be nice and the gods duly provided No58 for the day hunting near Prestwick Road.