Male Common Crossbill
Guiding at Arne - 4th March
Last Friday afternoon was spent guiding on behalf of the RSPB at Arne, I'd been booked for a 2 hour session around the reserve, to see what we could find and perhaps explore some of the slightly less trodden parts. Primary targets were Dartford Warbler and Spoonbill, any others would be a nice bonus and as usual Arne failed to disappoint. Our first area to explore was Westrack to look for Dartford Warblers and possibly Woodlark, we were immediately rewarded with a party of 9 Common Crossbill which were new for both clients! The birds after a little bit of Searching showed superbly well and both sexes were observed, we were also able to listen to them singing and calling frequently, Our first Dartford was noted while enjoying the Crossbills, this though somewhat overshadowed. We had to leave the Crossbills eventually, more Dartford Warblers were encountered including several territorial males chasing each other around, our first Stonechat and Meadow Pipit were noted here too. Moving on to Coombe Heath excellent views of Spoonbill were had from the viewing screen, Dunlin, Redshank, Grey Plover, Red-breasted Merganser, Wigeon and Teal all put in an appearance allowing brilliant views in the early spring sunshine, the undoubted highlight here though was the flock of at least 1300 Brent Geese taking flight and swirling around over the Middlebere Channel, it really was quite a spectacle!