Monday, April 24, 2006
Uskmouth 24th April
A calm, overcast afternoon at Uskmouth proved very rewarding in terms of quantity and quality of birds. I parked at the end of Salt Marsh Lane, and walked down to the seawall. On the saltmarsh were approx 30 Whimbrel, including this particularly showy bird. Sedge Warblers were much in evidence, and a Whitethroat showed itself briefly. Having walked to Uskmouth reserve, and most of the way round it, I was thinking that yesterdays Cuckoos had gone, then suddenly I disturbed one from a post nearby. It flew around for a while and then perched on a treetop near the pylons at the NW corner of the reserve, where it stayed for at least 10 mins. A few photos and videoclips were attempted, until it flew off. A Lesser Whitethroat sang from the hedge 10 feet away, and immediately popped into a bare tree nearby, for not quite long enough for a photo. Having walked round the end and past the tree belt, I stopped to check the reedbed for a last time. A raptor was flying near the lighthouse. It was a cream crowned Marsh Harrier. I watched it work its way across to near where the cuckoo had been, then it dropped into the reedbed. I saw two other birders approaching. I walked back to check if they had seen the harrier. They hadn't, and as we chatted, a stunning male Hen Harrier emerged from the reeds nearby. We watched for a short while, until it appeared to drop into the reeds. A Cettis showed well briefly in a nearby tree, following a couple of earlier glimpses. The walk back along the shore was quiet, apart for cracking views of a couple of Reed Warblers.