Wednesday, 3 April 2013

It was absolutely arctic this morning, the temperature was just below freezing as I left the house, and the stiff NE wind, carrying sleet and snow grains, cut through every layer of clothing I had on, it would have been warmer if someone had been shoveling ice cubes down the back of my neck!!

Just 90 minutes were spent out on patch, as it became increasingly obvious I wasn't going to find any spring arriving birds, how frustrating! I have given up work with dreams of spending long spring days tracking down summer arrivals, but instead I spent most of the day doing housework!!!!! This is not what I had hoped for......  LoL  :-)

What is only frustrating to me is deadly serious for the birds out there ( and other wildlife) this is the time of year when natures larder is empty, and emerging insects start to fill that gap, but the weather is so cold that the insects are few and far between. Birds should be investing energy in setting up breeding territories now, but most are still just trying to survive.

Anyway, in the 90 minutes I was out a few birds were noted, and they were few, the BLACK HEADED GULLS on the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley had decreased markedly in number, just 40-50 were seen, along with 2 COMMON and a single LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL.There were 43 FIELDFARE, 5 REDWING and 35 STARLINGS feeding together in a stretched out flock on another part of the pasture.

A look around the College Grounds was eerily quiet, I watched the MISTLETHRUSHES continue to nest build and a GREY HERON flew from one of the ponds, 4 GREYLAG GEESE flew low over, as did a MEADOW PIPIT. A pair of LONG TAILED TITS and a pair of GOLDCRESTS were also seen, but that was about the best of it.

Walking back the way i'd come, I noted a flyover pair of CANADA GEESE, a hunting KESTREL and a SPARROWHAWK, a CORMORANT (55) made the visit more bearable, as it was an addition to the months list, while a YELLOWHAMMER seen at the Greenhouse Grounds was the first this year to actually be on my patch rather than just flyover it  :-)

Not sure if I'll do any better tomorrow, as there will be no change in the weather, just have to bide my time doing household chores for a few days, what a waste!!

This afternoon it wasn't all housework, I took a break at times, and when the Sparrowhawk was away for any length of time I managed to poke the camera out the window and into the garden at the feeders  :-)
The JAYS were frequent visitors
I filled the 'blog Log' with peanuts more than once
Three Jays emptied it in minutes though  ;-)
A dozen CHAFFINCH'S also made frequent forays onto the Sunflower hearts, competing with the SISKINS - and most welcome to it they all are  :-)
Long Tailed Tits came in every 20 minutes or so, up to 8 at a time fed on the fat. In any 'normal' April this would be a rare visitor


Anonymous said...

Despite the conditions, i`ve seen quite a few bird sp`s nest building. But as you rightly say Warren..the larder is empty.

Keep your eye`s to the sky mate. Stuff`s on the Osprey passed over the Barnsley area this morning.

Warren Baker said...

I tried a bit of sky watching from my seat over at the fields whilst out this morning.........I lasted about .0001 of a second :-)

Marc Heath said...

Red Kites are on the move now so keep looking upwards. Despite the crap weather, some birds are moving so you never know.

Warren Baker said...

I do get the occasional Red Kite over during April, but can I stand to be ice-blasted for long enough! Those fields are like a wind tunnel!

Pete Woodruff said...

Know how you feel Warren but a good time the weather in the next few days.

How's that for positive thinking!

Gravel Pit Birder said...

hello warren
agreed about the weather...funny that we are both probably looking forward to a warm 9 degrees at the weekend, if they have it right of course....
ive just been reading about good numbers of swallows around the gibralter wont be long now....come on sunshine!!

Anonymous said...

Great images Warren, especially those beautiful Jays :-) Hope the weather improves and warms up a bit down your way, for as you say food supplies must be getting worryingly low :-(

Chris said...

Heye mate, you should really come to Iceland right now... We have temps of 9-10°C since last week... it's wonderful over there and birds are starting to come in... Saw the first brant goose today... quite early.

ShySongbird said...

Arctic is the right word Warren! We had more snow flurries this morning.

Great photos from the garden again. The birds certainly need all the help they can get at the moment.