Sat 2nd May 2015
A local(ish) days birding with Paul F. Provisional plan was to visit Fishers Green to hopefully see Nightingale and then if positive news on Pectoral Sandpiper head off to Rainham Marshes. On arrival at Fishers Green a nice pair of Bullfinch got us off to a good start. We made our way to the electricity sub-station. A few Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler were singing but no Nightingale. Unusual not hear Nightingale at Fishers Green at this time of the year although it was quite cold. A walk around the sub-station and we eventually heard our first Nightingale singing. It was quite close but as usual very elusive. A couple of glimpses but not enough for a positive i.d. We continued around the sub-station and a couple more Nightingale began to sing. We stopped where we could hear a Garden Warbler singing. Looking at the bush the singing seemed to be coming from and a pair of Blackcap were seen, then a Whitethroat began singing from the top of the bush before flying off. Next to appear in the bush was a Garden Warbler which sang and showed quite well. Next we decided to visit the Bittern hide to see what was on or over the lake. Several Nightingale were now in full voice. Our Nightingale luck changed as we got nearer to the car park. We could hear a Nightingale singing quite close. Then it flew from some bramble and into a Willow where it sang and showed well for a few minutes. At the Bittern hide, a few Swallows and Common Tern over the lake, a Cetti's sang and 2 pairs of Reed Warbler showed well in the reed bed in front of the hide. No news on Pectoral Sandpiper at Rainham so what to do next? Go home and cut the grass? At least I would be able to see out of my windows! Instead of lawn mowing we decided to visit the old Hatfield aerodrome or as it as now known Ellenbrook Fields. Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff all singing as we headed in the direction of the pools. A distant Cuckoo was heard calling so our plan was to look for Mandarin at the pools the seek out the Cuckoo. Somehow or other we found ourselves in the gravel workings. Not sure if we should have been there but pressed on. We reached some pools but no Mandarin. We could still hear the Cuckoo calling so headed in the direction of the call. We reached some woods and while scanning for the Cuckoo a Hobby was seen mobbing a Buzzard. A Red Kite went over and then the Cuckoo offered some nice flight views. A bit lost and no obvious way back on to the reserve we retraced our steps. Over one of the pools towards Coopers Green I think? 2 Hobby were hunting St Marks Flies, then the number of Hobby increased to 7. They drifted off so we continued on our way. A hundred or so yards up the track we could hear a Lesser Whitethroat singing and luckily for us it showed very well. That was just about the last action of birding day.
Pics below; one of 7 Hobbies near Coopers Green and Lesser-whitethroat at Ellenbrook Fields.