Up ridiculously early (03.45) and was on the road south by 4am - eek! Amazed to see two Buzzards actively hunting by the side of the A64 at 4.15am, seemingly quite early. Arrived at Old Moor at 4.50am full of anticipation, but on entering the Wader Scrape hide my heart sank, as the other early risers were looking dispondent. The Gull-billed Tern that roosted last night, had gone. Doh! Spent the next hour and a half grilling every passing gull and Common Tern, but alas the GBT never arrived. Saw a fine Med Gull, a couple of Barn Owls, Common Sandpiper and a LBBG killing and eating a recently fledged BH Gull which made me a bit hungry for breakfast! 6.30am approached so I had to leave having dipped spectacularly, but made it back in time for Vicky to go to work and me to take the kids to school. Twitching Dad!
Once duties were done, headed out east to the delights of Goole and then along the south bank of the Humber to my old stomping ground of Blacktoft Sands. Nothing much had changed here, though I didn't see a single Avocet and the water levels were very high with steep sided islands. Perhaps they will drop the water later in the summer for a few passage waders. Nevertheless, a fine couple of hours with great views of the pair of Montagu's Harriers that have successfully nested here. I wouldn't normally put out this kind of news on my blog, but this pair has been widely publicised by the RSPB and others, so they are well known.
The female showed for ten minutes at about 11am, gliding around over the reedbed, before dropping out of sight for another hour. She had very well marked pale upperwing coverts and a very well marked tail. At 12.30pm, the male came in from the west - what a stonking bird! -and was soon intercepted by the female. He briefly chased a lumbering Marsh Harrier away, before having a quick inspection of the chicks. Soon he was off west again, presumably to seek more prey. About half a dozen Marsh Harriers seen, plus a single Spotted Redshank flew past calling. No sign of the Ring-necked Duck although a rather scruffy first summer Tufted Duck was being merrily strung by several birders in Xerox Hide!