Saturday, 5 May 2012

May birds

A few nice birds have called in over the last few days. Not for the first time, some of them were seen along the approach road.  On Thursday Ian Griffiths saw a Turtle Dove on the wires just by the gate, then later that day he was driving back out when a male Golden Oriole flew down the road ahead of him. Yesterday Dougy Wright was watching one of three Dunlin which dropped in on the Plantlife pool when it was dive-bombed by a Short-eared Owl! And today I saw an immature male Marsh Harrier, probably the one which has been around since last November, along with the three Black-tailed Godwits and a Little Egret.  The two godwits which were in winter plumage last week are now rapidly gaining their breeding colours.

A few odonata are finally beginning to emerge - Broad-bodied Chaser and Emerald Damselfly both made their first appearance yesterday.

Thanks to Griff for the photos of Garden Warbler and Turtle Dove (taken through the car windscreen!), and Dougy for the Dunlin and Short-eared Owl.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

At last, a touch of Spring.

With blue skies and a hint of warmth in the easterly breeze, it felt like Spring today (for the first time since the end of March).  It was a nine warbler day at the farm: Grasshopper, Reed, seven Sedge, three Blackcap, Garden Warbler, three Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, 15 Willow Warblers and two Chiffchaffs - all singing. There was a steady passage of Swallows flying north: I counted 35. Amongst the supporting cast were two Swifts, two Cuckoos, male and female Peregrine, two Whimbrel, six Skylarks, seven Wheatears, three Song Thrushes and six Linnets.

There were very few butterflies around so I was pleasantly surprised when a Painted Lady flew by.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

April showers - and the rest!

I'm rather glad that month's over. April is one of my favourites - normally - but that was the worst I can remember. The legacy is as much standing water and mud on the reserve as I have ever seen, at any time of year, and probably more than a few inbound summer migrants which didn't survive the truly awful weather of the last couple of days. That's a pessimistic view. Maybe they're hardier than I give them credit for.

Today it was dry, sunny and with a more gentle breeze from the south-east. In the warbler line there were plenty of Willow Warblers singing, along with a few Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, Sedge Warblers and a couple of Whitethroats. Skylarks are on their soggy territories and about a dozen Swallows zipped through. I counted eight Wheatears but the birds of the day were the three Black-tailed Godwits which have been present for a few days now. One is in glorious summer plumage. There were also two Whimbrel and a Cuckoo calling.