Wednesday, 10 April 2013

My first port of call this morning was Migrant Alley, when I arrived there a heavy mist hung over the fields and it felt chilly in the gloom, but for some reason the day did have a better overall feel to it despite that.

The gathering of BLACK HEADED GULLS were the most obvious birds on the sheep pasture, around 40 of them were feeding there, with them were 4 LESSER BLACK BACK GULLS and 5 COMMON GULLS, as well as the pair of MEDITERRANEAN GULLS. Much scanning of the posts and fence lines around the fields and paddocks didn't provide me with my first migrant Wheatear, I'm wondering if i'll record one this spring, only once have I failed to find a spring Wheatear.

CHIFFCHAFFS however have arrived in some numbers now, one sang in a hedgerow bordering a large garden, and another sang from the wooded headlands to the north of the paddocks. Another two sang over at the Scrubby Woods, and a fifth bird called from the banks of the lakes, where I watched at least 3 young COOTS being fed by both parents, one was trying to swallow a small fish that was far to big to go down! 8 CANADA GEESE, one pair defending a nest, and a pair of GREYLAG GEESE that have returned to their nest site were the only birds on the water this morning, but the feral BARNACLE GOOSE dropped in a bit later.

Winter species were far fewer today, no Fieldfare were recorded, but 3 REDWING were seen in the Small Holding, while small numbers of SISKIN and MEADOW PIPITS flew over.

The majority of the rest of my day was spent on my seat at Migrant Alley, where very little was seen at all in the grey skies and drifting, acrid smoke from the burning of the Tree Nursery, a LITTLE OWL called from the Greenhouse Copse, and both KESTREL and SPARROWHAWK were up hunting, but after 2 and a half hours, just after noon, I heard that familiar and welcome song coming from high above - my first SWALLOW (80,61) of spring! It stayed for a minute or two, circling the greenhouses before flying off west, and that made my day  :-)

The first Swallow has arrived at Pittswood 8 days later than their 12 year median average arrival date, and 3 days later than last year.
ROOK. I assume its only the males i'm seeing 'goose stepping' around the pasture, as the females are at the nearby Rookery on their nests. Judging by the full crop on this bird the young have hatched  ;-)
Kestrel overlooking the burning tree nursery, its former hunting ground. The field is not just being cleared, it's being totally sanitised, not a square foot of habitat will remain, not even enough for a grasshopper!


Marc Heath said...

Here they come. Patch ticks every day from now on Warren!!

Warren Baker said...

I hope so - not a lot of habitat here left for them though!

Anonymous said...

I told you the other day you wouldn`t have long to wait. None for me yet...but i did get a surprise this afternoon in the form of 4 Waxwings over :)

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Coots have barely started building here Warren.
What is happening to the tree nursery - is it being replanted and if so do you know with what?



Warren Baker said...

The owner has chucked out the firm that leased the field to plant trees.

He has now begun the process to sanitise the field and then lease it to someone else.

Warren Baker said...

They are on their way as I type Deano (the Swallows that is!)

Stephen Mills said...

Well done on the Swallow,Warren. Hopefully it will open the floodgates for the spring migrants on your patch.

Anonymous said...

Good news regarding the first Swallow of the year Warren, hopefully they'll be up here soon as well :-) I expect the coming few weeks will see plenty of further spring migrants arriving in your neck of the woods.

Alan Pavey said...

Just the start of things come :-)

ShySongbird said...

Well done with the Swallow Warren, very welcome news :-) Apparently, a House Martin was seen here two days ago. It certainly looked like the Rook had plenty of food to take back to its nest.

I felt so sorry for the Kestrel's bewilderment at the loss of its habitat :-(