Tuesday 30 April 2024

Thirty Years Ago - April 1994

9th April:

A good selection of migrants at Dagenham Chase with three Willow Warblers, Blackcap, three Sand Martins and two Little Ringed Plovers.

10th April:

A day out west with Neil, Simon and Pete started with a dip with no Long-tailed Skua at Avonmouth or the Ring-billed Gull in Stroud but at least the Cattle Egret nearby was seen although only because we saw some birders at the side of a road viewing from a layby! [Eds: still a rare bird 30 years ago!]

Cattle Egret 

A few Swallows and a House Martin hawked over the trees and a male Sparrowhawk took an interest.

Onto to Goldcliff for the 1s Sabine’s Gull that was contentedly feeding in a wet field.  Buzzards, Ravens and Sparrowhawks were also seen before we decided to head for home. [Eds: I still marvel at where and what we went for back then just for the pleasure of a day out.]

Sabine’s Gull 

23rd April:

Roy and I followed up a report from Connaught Water of a pair of Blue-winged Teal and we quickly found them in the marshy area along side the lake. They were wary and would not allow a close approach and would flush very easily. Whatever their origins they deserved more than a cursory glance due to the presumed escape tag attached to them.  

[Eds: Connaught always was and still is a magnet for dumped wildfowl and there is a very impressive global list for the site but it is also genuinely attractive to duck with the local lurking Mandarins, wintering Goosander which become tame and come in to feed with the Mallards, as well as occasional Smew and even a Green-winged Teal. I know in all probability that this pair were local escapees but they did not linger long and you never know…]

Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and a Nightingale sang while Red-eared Terrapins, Pochards, Mandarins and Great Crested Grebes were seen and a Kingfisher darted by.

26th April:

Most of the day was spent around Fingringhoe searching for Kettle’s Africana race Chaffinch but to no avail but there were many migrants including countless Nightingales, both Whitethroats, Garden Warblers and four purring Turtle Doves.  Abberton was very quiet on the way home.

28th April:

A very late first Swift of the year over Picketts lock.

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