Well it's been a long time, there are really several reasons for this and I apologise to all my regular readers who probably wondered were I'd got too, firstly it's been a incredibly quiet summer and it really does get a bit down to be constantly repeating the same birds day in and day out, sometimes you feel like just writing ditto, ditto, ditto for each day, Westport's number 1 regular Nick Smith manages to get through the quiet times by keeping a check on the numbers of moulting Canada Geese and Coots rings etc, these kind of things I'm not good at, secondly my job is exceptionally hard work (well for me anyway) being on my feet for 9 hours a day and I'm so shattered by the time my day's off come around I just don't have the urge to walk around Westport for 2+ hours and seeing nothing but ditto ditto, blah, blah blah...............
So all that said there has been the odd decent moment during the last month or so, mostly seen by Nick as he's been the only regular during these lean summer day's, however I did manage a Westport record on the 27th June and probably birds of the year so far along with Nick's Black-necked Grebes a few months previously, it was a sunny morning and as usual been very quiet, I was just heading home as I walked along the canal side of the main lake when I heard Terns calling, I looked across the lake but couldn't see anything, the call was puzzling me as it wasn't the usual Common Tern call you would expect to hear, I couldn't see them anywhere and was about to give up when they called again, looking up high I could see 4 Terns circling the main lake and coming down rapidly, they came low enough to realise these were Sandwich Terns, and not only that but 4 of them, the only previous records have been individual ones and I think these 4 equalled the total number ever recorded at Westport.
All other highlights for the last month or so come mainly from Nick and are as follows, Canada Geese numbers peaked at 365 which includes 49 Goslings during the moulting season with a CanadaxGreylag Goose (Canlag) within the flock, also 14 Greylag Geese were present, on the 20th a Kingfisher was present on the main lake, these have been thin on the ground so far this year, 5 Common Terns went through on the 23rd June, the resident male Mute Swan has kept his family well protected this year with any other Mute Swans coming in being quickly dispatched, 4 new birds came in on the 27th June but were soon removed by the male, Jeff Jones had a Common Tern go through on the 29th June, into July now and on the 2nd another Kingfisher, 2 Common Sandpipers and another bird that has been thin on the ground this year in a Grey Wagtail not much else happened at Westport til the 15th when a Hobby went through, the 3rd one this year and I still need it for the year at Westport.
On the 16th we decided to have a day trip out we headed to Westport nice and early at 05.30, it was even more quiet than usual and we quickly headed for our first target bird of the day a Western Bonelli's Warbler at Arnfield Res in Derbys, we had no joy after a few hours in the rain so headed to Blacktoft Sands in Yorks for the 2nd target bird, a Marsh Sandpiper, after a short wait in the hide out of the constant rain we managed to connect with this great looking bird, only my 2nd ever record in the UK, the first was at Cley on a family holiday in the early 80's, after a look around the reserve we headed back to Derby's for the Warbler, again it rained heavy but it eventually stopped and after a short wait we heard the Warbler singing from a lone bush and located it in the middle of the bush, this was a first for me and my first lifer this year since the Lesser White-fronted Goose back on the 2nd of January! See here for the full story of our day.
Ok back to Westport and on the 19th a Redshank was on the model boating lake, this is the 4th record this year with the last one also being found on here, lastly 3 Teal were in the middle of the main lake on the 23rd.
A few other things have been happening at Westport recently, firstly on the old gas works all the maturing birch trees have been cut down, we couldn't work out why this had been done wondering if they were possibly going to redevelop the area and we would lose this area from our Westport coverage area, this happened early June and nothing more has happened we now think it's possible that a company was brought in to remove the tree's and then sell on the bark mulch they had created, it will be interesting to see if we get anything different on here over the migration period, also on the boating lake the Council? have screened off an area and planted some reeds and other plants, I wonder if it will be as successful as they wild flowers areas they planted in the spring, which to date has been a disaster.
So lastly I have a few photo's which were sent in from Westport's regular photographer Pete Lunt.