Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Beauty of a Local Patch

As I am working this evening and late into the night, and also early tomorrow morning, bottle trapping Great Crested Newts, I decided to have a leisurely start to the day by heading to Booths for a free Latte and then on to the Moss for a birding stroll. I collected some waste bird seed from the local agricultural college and dropped this off at my feed bin.

As I drove down the track I had a singing Yellowhammer, but this was to be the only one encountered on my walk. Corn Buntings were conspicuous by their absence too and I only had a single Tree Sparrow. I'm not too worried about a lack of Tree Sparrows, like I am for a lack Corn Buntings, as I know the Tree Sparrows will have been busy in my boxes.

Two Buzzards thermalled above the woodland in the warming air and I added a third bird later on my walk. From the same woodland a Great Spotted Woodpecker called and I had a second calling bird from the L Wood. As I approached the L Wood I had my first singing Willow Warbler and then had another three in the plantation.

Migrants were thin on the ground this morning and in addition to the Willow Warblers I had a male Wheatear feeding amongst some stones and fence posts adjacent to the track. At the far end of the very large field opposite was a flock of 160 Curlews and I couldn't pick any Whimbrels out amongst them. Heading back past the plantation I flushed a Grey Partridge and Roe Deer crashed out of the woodland.

 Wheatear

A number of butterflies were on the wing, mainly Small Tortoiseshells and Peacocks. Driving off the Moss I stopped to have a look on the Green Sand Pool and I was pleasantly surprised to see a Black-tailed Godwit feeding away, which was a first record for me for this species at this site, and this just re-emphasised to me the beauty of a local patch in that the bird doesn't have to be particularly rare to give you a buzz!

 Peacock

 Black-tailed Godwit

Monday, 14 April 2014

March Ringing Totals

Over on the right you will see that I have updated the ringing totals for Fylde Ringing Group up until the end of March. We have ringed 122 birds of 20 species and are 379 birds down on where we were last year.

I haven't produced a list of the top 5 ringed for the month as only one species was ringed in double figures and this is Chiffchaff with 14 ringed. Nor have I listed a 'top ten movers and shakers' as only five species were ringed in double figures, so I have produced a 'top five movers and shakers' instead.

Top Five Movers and Shakers

1. Chiffchaff - 15 (straight in)
    Blue Tit - 15 (same position)
    Goldfinch - 15 (straight in)
4. Yellowhammer - 12 (down from 2nd)
5. Wheatear - 11 (straight in)

Chiffchaff

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Niggling Northerly

I bumped in to Ian at first light this morning and we headed to the Scar where we could 'watch' the sea even though the tide was out and had yet to turn and run in. The forecast had been for it to be a straight westerly this morning but in reality there was a 'niggling northerly' in it making it a chilly west-northwesterly. In fact it felt like a November morning this morning, not like mid April at all!

The first hour after first light was definitely the best and it slowed down a great deal after that. Passage on the sea included 31 Red-throated Divers, a Fulmar, two Gannets, 19 Common Scoters, 15 Kittiwakes, two Red-breasted Mergansers, ten Eiders, two Sandwich Terns, four Cormorants and a Shelduck.

As you might expect there was very little vis under these conditions other than two Swallows, a Meadow Pipit, a Sand Martin and 21 Goldfinches. I had a few waders on the shore in the form of 28 Sanderlings, 55 Dunlins and 85 Turnstones. The only grounded migrant was a single Wheatear.

Back home in my moth trap were two Hebrew Characters, a Common Quaker and an Early Grey. It's forecast a stiff northwesterly for tomorrow so I'm not sure if I'll get out other than to drop some food off at the bin at my feeding station followed by a short walk on the Moss perhaps.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Hoodie

After a week of breeding waders, Great Crested Newts, Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, Primroses and Fritillaries it was great to get out for a relaxing morning's birding this morning. A sea watch was the order of the day with a 15 - 20 mph southwesterly wind blowing and a mid-morning tide. I tried to sea watch at my new spot on the coast but it was too exposed so had to go back to the old and trusted sheltered spot.

The 'vis' was all over the place this morning with some birds managing to head north and east early on, but as the wind increased they were heading west along the peninsula into wind. My meagre vis totals included a single Alba Wag, 14 Meadow Pipits, six Linnets, 28 Goldfinches and a Swallow. The best or most interesting bird I had on vis was a Hooded Crow that flew directly over my head being mobbed by Gulls. It headed northeast across the bay and dropped onto a sand bar. It was then mobbed by Gulls again and I lost it as it headed east.

The sea was quiet, with the main feature being a small movement of Gannets totalling 31 birds. The supporting cast included 69 Common Scoters, seven Red-throated Divers, five Red-breasted Mergansers, 115 Knots, nine Eiders, 13 Cormorants, 60 Dunlins, two Sandwich Terns, a Whimbrel, two Shelducks and 22 Ringed Plovers.

The forecast for tomorrow is for quite a stiff westerly wind so some more sea watching might be on the cards.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Mainly South

The vis yesterday was a mixture of north or south, but this morning it was mainly all south; often perceived as the wrong direction in spring! The wind direction for the second day running was probably the reason for the southerly movement as it was a good 15 mph from the south. I had full cloud cover throughout most of the morning, but the forecast rain yet again didn't appear.

The vis was a similar mix of species and numbers to yesterday and included 21 Meadow Pipits, nine Goldfinches, an Alba Wag and eleven Linnets. However, if at all possible there were less grounded migrants than yesterday restricted to just a single Wheatear.

 Meadow Pipit

Wheatear

The sea was a little livelier with Gannets being a feature of the morning and my totals included two Cormorants, two Red-throated Divers, an Auk sp., a Common Scoter, seven Eiders, 29 Gannets, two Grey Plovers, nine Sanderlings and a Sandwich Tern.

I have a busy week coming up work-wise and I might struggle to get out birding again until Friday as I have a breeding wader survey to complete Tuesday and Great Crested Newt surveys on Wednesday and Thursday. Where do the days go?!

Saturday, 5 April 2014

North and South

As I set off on my walk around the Obs this morning I had full cloud cover with a stiff southerly wind. Rain was forecast for some time during the morning, but it didn't arrive during my two hour walk.

Grounded migrants were a bit thin on the ground and a Chiffchaff singing from the hedge & ditch and a Wheatear on the sea wall was all I could muster.

 Wheatear

The vis was a bit mixed this morning in that there was some, although it wasn't particularly heavy and some birds as well as moving in the expected northerly direction were moving south into the wind, including Meadow Pipits out at sea. My vis totals included 180 Pink-footed Geese, 34 Meadow Pipits, a Siskin, six Linnets, an Alba Wagtail, two Goldfinches and a Lesser Redpoll.

I didn't spend too much time on the sea and just had four Cormorants, 14 Eiders, five Common Scoters, two Red-throated Divers and three Red-breasted Mergansers.

I had a look on the flood and there were six Snipes and as I walked through the dunes I flushed a cracking adult male Sparrowhawk.

The forecast is similar for tomorrow with strong southerlies and rain moving through in the morning.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Keep Going Back

I always find that if you have the time, and particularly at coastal sites in the spring, keep going back to have a look as new birds are always dropping in even on a slow morning like today. I was at the cemetery at first light and it was gloomy; full cloud cover with a quite a mist and a light southeasterly breeze.

My walk round yielded little other than a Redwing heading northeast and three Siskins. I then moved on to the coastal park and expected a Chiffchaff at least but I had no migrants other than a Sand Martin zipping through.

I then went back to the cemetery and the mist had thickened to become a light drizzle and straight away two Fieldfares dropped in and I had a grounded Redwing too. Walking the same circuit as earlier I added three Chiffchaffs to the morning's total but that was it migrant-wise, but it had certainly been worth going back.

 Chiffchaff

The forecast for tomorrow is a bit mixed with southeasterlies and some rain coming in during the morning. The timing of the rain is going to be crucial and I'll certainly be getting up to have a look.