Monday, 5 May 2014

Balscote Quarry nature reserve: greenshanks

This afternoon I took a trip over to Balscote Quarry nature reserve run by the Banbury Ornithological Society.  Last week I photographed a greenshank there, which had been around for a few days en route to breeding grounds in northern Scotland or Scandinavia.  Turned out this bird had colour rings on both legs, so I sent my poor resolution pics off to see if the individual could be identified.  There is  a study going on at Chichester Harbour.  But it was not one of theirs, so I'm still waiting to find out about it's origins.  Today another greenshank was reported so I was interested to see if it was the same  bird, but this bird had no rings.  It looked extremely elegant wading around the shallows, calling evocatively during short flights around the pool. Three ringed plovers were also present.  Both species could well be heading up to Scandinavia - where their arctic habitats are still likely to be very icy so they can probably take their time.

The greenshank with colour rings (low res image due to long range)
This nature reserve is a small corner of land about five miles north of Banbury.  Once a rock quarry, now restored to a miniature haven for wildlife struggling to find a niche in the modern countryside.
It is easy to visit, just pull off the road and walk ten metres to the viewing screen!

Balscote Quarry NR viewpoint

It is sad to think that this is pretty much the only place in our local area where these waders can pause for feeding.  There are hardly any other shallow water habitats left, even in the floodplain of the River Cherwell.  This is also very bad news for our breeding wading birds, even the once common lapwing has become extremely scarce. Thanks in part to the work of the BOS, they retain a small foothold in our patch.

No comments:

Post a Comment