I had about a week and a half of April available before the Easter holidays and our BUBO trip to Spain. There wasn’t much time to get out in the field but I saw a few nice birds. My first Swallow of the year was on 2nd April at Fort Hommet and my first House Martin a day later over Rue des Bergers. When I popped down to lunch at Rue des Bergers I was pleased to see that there were still a pair of Garganey present and they kept swimming closer and closer to the hide! I have never seen a wild Garganey this close before and, despite a bright sun shining in at an unhelpful angle, I managed to get some really detailed shots. I hadn’t realised that a drake Garganey’s bill was a deep red colour at this time of year. Fabulous birds.
The same day I popped in after school to see a Spotted Redshank that had arrived at Vale Pond. However, I dipped out! Don’t know how I managed to do it, but the bird was still there and I couldn’t see it. I managed a second attempt the next day and, despite the heavy rain, the bird was feeding in front of the hide. An official rarity here at the moment, only occurring every few years.
There were a few decent migrants around at the weekend so I managed a quick jaunt to Fort Doyle mid-afternoon. There wasn’t much migration happening and the most interesting sighting was a pair of recently-dismembered wings next to a plucking post. I thought that they were probably Snipe wings (which they were) but I decided to take them home with me anyway just to be sure. It was probably the victim of a Peregrine or Sparrowhawk.
On the way home I popped to Jaonneuse beach as someone had seen a Ring Ouzel there earlier in the day. I couldn’t see it and since there were a couple of other people not seeing it too I didn’t hang around to search. However, I thought there was a good chance that it had been flushed and was maybe feeding on the grass of the driving range as it would have been more peaceful. And it was.
I only had a couple of days of work left and I managed a couple of decent migrants on the patch - a Sedge Warbler at Fort Hommet on 8th and a corker of a male Redstart on the beach at Pulias on 9th. Two species I usually - but not always - get on the patch list during the year. Straight after work on the 10th I took a flight to Gatwick where I was to fly on to Madrid for a BUBO Spanish adventure!