Jane and I were delighted to be able to introduce a dozen LAG members to a new area. None of them had visited Middle Marsh Farm before where we had sunshine, a cooling breeze and good company.
We heard the gulls on the mere behind the first hide from over 200 metres away. When the hide shutters were opened there were white birds all over the banks and the small islands – gulls, avocets, shelduck and greylag geese. On closer inspection by eye and optics we realised that the smudges on the water and the shore were baby birds. I counted 47 greylag geese chicks formed up like a raft behind a couple of adults. Another fluffy mover became a lapwing chick. There were gulls nesting and oystercatchers were flying and shouting to establish territory and mates whilst the black-headed and lesser black back gulls added their voices to the clamour. We gave up trying to identify the host of immature gulls and just enjoyed the spectacle.
During our walk along the wonderfully grassy and completely litter free path to the next hide we kept stopping. There were hares in the field a marsh harrier and common terns in the sky whilst the elegant pale mauve flowers of ladies-smock stood out amongst the grasses, meadow buttercups and dandelions on the bank of the drainage dyke. A reed bunting announced its presence form the top of a large bush but we not able to catch more than a glimpse of the sedge warblers singing in the reeds.
There were not so many species around at the second hide but some anxious lapwings were drawing attention away from their chicks. More hares dashing across the ploughed fields and an avocet overhead made the walk back to the car park interesting. It was time for lunch – a picnic for some and for others a chance to try out the catering facilities at the newly opened Visitors’ Centre at Gibraltar Point. RW
Many thanks to Julie for the bird list:
Little egret, Mute swan, Greylag goose and goslings, Canada goose, Shelduck, Gadwall, Mallard, Tufted duck, Marsh harrier, Buzzard, Kestrel, Pheasant, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher and chick, Avocet, Lapwing and chick, Redshank, Black-headed gull, Lesser black-backed gull, Herring gull, (various immature gulls), Common tern, Feral pigeon, Wood pigeon, Skylark, Swallow, Swift, Pied wagtail, Sedge warbler, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Reed bunting. 33.