El Clot and Carabassi Woods

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5mAY-2We have been to the Clot three days this week. On Monday we saw a few good birds including three Little Owls, one in a dead tree with a Green Woodpecker at the top, another in the next tree along and the third in it’s usual tree on the way to the main hide. We caught up with a Pied Flycatcher, a bird we have not seen here before, although we saw lots of them a few weeks back when we were in Wales. A Great Reed Warbler was the best bird seen and heard while we were in the main hide.

On Wednesday we decided to visit in the afternoon at about 5pm for a change. Our first good bird was a Woodchat Shrike spotted by John. It was sitting on top of a tree but was distant so we walked towards it until we could see it’s reddy brown head and confirm it’s identity. Not a rare bird but a new one for my year list so I was happy. Later we sat in the main hide where a female Red crested Pochard was having a bath in front of the hide. Suddenly, a dove flew in front of the hide and landed on the ground not far away, before disappearing up a tree. I was jumping up and down yelling Turtle Dove, a beautiful bird and another first for the year! I had just about calmed down when I spotted a bird in the reeds at the far side of the pool so I watched it with my bins for a while until it showed itself to be a Little Bittern, I was so excited I nearly burst! We have seen this bird before but never at the Clot and not until now for this year. Our friend Dave joined us in the hide having just missed seeing the Little Bittern. The Great Reed Warbler we had seen on Monday showed well again in the reeds at the side of the hide and was making a lot of noise as usual. When we left the hide we heard a Cuckoo calling, presumably the same bird that Dave had photographed here a few days ago. As we walked back along the path we had good views of a couple of Linnets in full breeding plumage, with bright pink breasts and heads. This had been a brilliant hour’s birding!

5mAY-3On Thursday we went with Bryan and Dave to the Carabassi woods to look for a Rufous Bush Chat. Unfortunately, they do not appear to have arrived yet. We moved on to the Clot for a quick look round. At the main hide theGreat Reed Warbler was ‘performing’ again, two male White headed Ducks were seen and a pair of Little Ringed Plovers appear to have eggs. As we walked back I spotted not one, but two Turtle Doves sitting at the top of the big tree by the scrape. After yesterday’s excitement it seemed just too easy, but still a pleasure to see them. We made a second visit to the Clot in the late afternoon and found Paul and Greta sitting in the hide looking at aNight Heron, another great new bird for me at the Clot and for my year list. After sitting there for a while the Little Bittern poked it’s head out of the reeds and provided an opportunity for an attempt at a photo. Another successful afternoon visit. We are off to the Pyrenees on Saturday so no blog until we get back. Hoping for a good trip with some great birds!

Species list for the week – Little Grebe, Little Bittern, Night Heron, Mallard, Pochard, Red crested Pochard, White headed Duck, Coot, Moorhen, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Turtle Dove, Cuckoo (HO), Little Owl, Pallid Swift, Green Woodpecker, Swallow, House Martin, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Great Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher (Carabassi), Woodchat Shrike, House Sparrow, Spotless Starling, Magpie, Greenfinch, Serin, Goldfinch, Linnet.