Wednesday, 3 April 2013

No Fooling! (1st April)

Woke up at 6am with my brother to have a final stab at our target species for the trip, Black Woodpecker.  This time we had a trick up our sleeve and by 7:30am we were stood on the doorstep of our cousins house (using their free wifi) downloading Black Woodpecker calls.  The plan worked as soon as we walked into the woodland and after only a couple seconds of playing the recording a magnificent BLACK WOODPECKER came bounding directly over our heads!  We could barely believe our luck that a simple recording made the task of connecting with it so easy!  After a couple minutes we were soon enjoying good views of 2 Black Woodpeckers flying around the woodland calling and performing amazingly.  Unfortunately views of them perched were rather distant and obscured so I have no record shots, instead I can show you a pic of my brother with a grin so big that it can only mean a new lifer for both of us!

Ephraim with new addition to life list, Black Woodpecker!

The woodpecker somewhere in there

We were lucky enough to hear several more Black Woodpeckers throughout the rest of the afternoon distributed around the woodland, although it was possible some may have been the same individuals.

Other birds of note included the usual Marsh Tits, Yellowhammers and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Much of the rest of the day was taken up with our car trip back home to Herts but birding from the car wasn't all as bad as expected.  I saw at least 8 Buzzards, 1 Red Kite, 1 Sparrowhawk and 6+ Lapwing from the car as we sped through miles and miles of French farmland.  Also of note were 6 Roe Deer, 2 Brent Geese feeding in an arable field closer to the coast and 1 Hare.

We had an hour to spare before boarding the boat which we decided to spend on the beach at Calais.  Conditions for birding were sever with very strong winds and sand being blown into our eyes.  Still managed to find 3 Purple Sandpipers and 1 Ringed Plover among the numerous Turnstones and Sanderling.  Also saw my first Common Tern of the year.

Herring Gulls at Calais

sunset over the beach

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