Songs of waders in the mist

Weather forecast loked fabulous for today’s birding and Manor Farm in Old Wolverton just looked to be a perfect place to wander. It was a frosty and misty morning but as the Sun rose the fog lifted offering perfect visibility for the gravel pads. Bird sounds in the mist at dawn is truly magical and this time of the year, when birds start to arrive from wintering grounds, it is quite hard to isolate a single bird song. Rather than being in surveying mode it would have better just sitting  down and enjoying the spectacular dawn choirs.

Sunrise over the Manor Farm pastures. iPhone 7Plus. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Misty Manor Farm in Old Wolverton. iPhone 7Plus © Gyorgy Szimuly

By the floodplain we heard display songs of Northern Lapwing, Little Ringed Plover and Common Redshank spread perfectly in the mist. Some Green Sandpipers and Common Snipes were also feeding on the muddy pebble pads, increasing the diversity of waders.

Another sunrise photo from the floodplain. iPhone 7Plus. © Gyorgy Szimuly

While the visibility was very poor it was just good to stay there for minutes and just listen and watch the shape of closer birds in the mist. That experience is definitely a good medicine for everything. iPhone 7Plus. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Classic photo subjects in misty mornings are the spider webs with beautiful water droplets. iPhone 7Plus. © Gyorgy Szimuly

I just cannot have enough of the trilling territorial song of the Common Redshank. Photo was taken by a Sony Cyber-shot HX400V camera. © Gyorgy Szimuly

The beauty of the Northern Lapwing is much underrated. Photo was taken by a Sony Cyber-shot HX400V camera. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Northern Lapwing were kept busy by Carrion Crows with territorial defense. Photo was taken by a Sony Cyber-shot HX400V camera. © Gyorgy Szimuly

A pair of Canada Goose were feeding in front of the hide. Photo was taken by a Sony Cyber-shot HX400V camera. © Gyorgy Szimuly

As soon as the fog lifted we watched the acrobatic display of Northern Lapwing and the patroling flight of the Little Ringed Plover with its characteristic call.

I wouldn’t call it a bird photo but there is a Little Owl on that branch. Photo was taken by a Sony Cyber-shot HX400V camera. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Just before we reached the hide where we planned to have a breakfast, I spotted a flying Little Owl which briefly landed on a tree nearby. I rarely come across this local breeder so it was a pleasure seeing it. From the hide there was limited visibility to the sky but we watched feeding Eurasian Wigeons, lapwings and a redshank landing in front of the hide.

It was a very approachable Eurasian (British) Wren. Photo was taken by a Sony Cyber-shot HX400V camera. © Gyorgy Szimuly

The British race of Eurasian Wren was the most abundant songbird in the area. Photo was taken by a Sony Cyber-shot HX400V camera. © Gyorgy Szimuly

European Robins were actively holding territories and already busy with building nest. Photo was taken by a Sony Cyber-shot HX400V camera. © Gyorgy Szimuly

The most obvious change in the birdlife of this popular birdwatching area since my last visit from March, is the arrival of breeding birds. The number of singing Eurasian Wrens, Blackcaps, European Robins, Song Thrushes and Common Reed Buntings was a clear sign of the beginning of the breeding season. I saw the first Willow Warbler of the year along the river.

Flused Little Owl in the willow. This record shot was taken by a Sony Cyber-shot HX400V camera. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Grey Wagtail fed on the shore of the river. Photo was taken by a Sony Cyber-shot HX400V camera. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Just behind the Aqueduct another Little Owl was flushed by the growing number of walkers. When it landed next to the canal an Eurasian Magpie disturbed it and flushed again into the woods. Further along the river a beautiful pair of Grey Wagtails provided excellent views in wall to wall sunshine.

In the afternoon I took a visit to the nearby Blue Lagoon Nature Reserve where more Willow Warblers were singing. Over the new landfill area 14 Red Kites, a Common Buzzard, 2 Common Ravens and an European Kestrel were soaring with Lesser Black-backed Gulls. At Knot Hole pond I saw the first Common Redstart of the year.