As soon as the rain stopped I was off out, though this wasn't until 10:00hrs. I only had just over an hour, so decided on a walk around the paddocks and sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, which turned out far better than I had expected.
On scanning the fence rails and posts, I was very pleased to see a superb male WHINCHAT (88,76), what a fantastic bird! It dropped down and caught the occasional insect, then flew back to the fence post, but I had not bothered to bring my camera out due to the poor weather! As I watched the Whinchat, a YELLOW WAGTAIL flew over, and 13 HERRING GULLS were seen on the adjacent field.
I decided in the end that I would go and get my camera, in the hope that the Whinchat would stay put, so the race was on! I saw both a COMMON BUZZARD and the male KESTREL on the walk back home, then, on the way back to Migrant Alley, a SPARROWHAWK flew over the Greenhouses.
It took a while for me to find the Whinchat again, as the dog walkers had now come out in force and had disturbed the bird. I saw it about 150 meters from where it was originally was, so set about trying to get a bit nearer to it, which I did, getting to about 12 meters from it. I took a few record shots in the poor light and whilst I did another YELLOW WAGTAIL flew over, they were a feature of the short visit, as on my walk home a small group of 7 more flew over, Migrant Alley has come to life all of a sudden!
Whinchats are recorded in most years at Migrant Alley, but mostly on Autumn passage, this is only the 3rd Spring Whinchat of the 14 years of recording, the others were also males, seen in 2002 and 2009, both in May, so todays bird is new to the combined April list, which now stands at 113!
The months list moves on to 76, the joint third highest April tally and only 3 behind the best ever April tally, which was achieved back in 2013