Thursday, 19 March 2009

My First Wheatears

Why is it that when you are going to go birding you wake up at least an hour before your alarm is due to go off and then you watch the clock go round and get up earlier than you had set the alarm for. This morning was no exception I had set my alarm for 5.45 a.m. to go birding before work, woke up at 4.45 a.m. and watched the clock go round until about 5.35 a.m. when I decided to get up! I would have got up when I woke up but it was dark! You can bet your bottom dollar that if you didn't set your alarm you would sleep in.

When I set off for Rossall Point I nearly turned back as it was very misty and there was a ground frost. However when I got to the Point the mist wasn't quite as bad. It was still fairly misty in that you couldn't see across Morecambe Bay but it wasn't misty enough to stop the 'vis'.

Immediately Meadow Pipits were on the move and during the hour and fifty minutes that I was there I had 164 head east or east-northeast. The supporting cast of visible migrants included 14 Linnets, 11 Alba Wagtails (no stringy early claims of White Wags here), 4 Carrion Crows, 4 Chaffinch, single Reed Bunting, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, 7 Woodpigeons, 2 Collared Doves and 4 high flying Siskins up in the stratosphere!

A few shorebirds were feeding amongst the shingle and I had 38 Oystercatchers, 10 Grey Plovers, 34 Turnstones, 4 Redshank and 23 Knot. The only grounded migrants I had were 3 Wheatears and Howard had a single Goldcrest. The pair of Stonechats that have been hanging around all winter were still hanging around, and whether they will stay to breed remains to be seen.

Because of the mist there really wasn't much point looking on the sea but in the murk I did have 11 Red-breasted Mergansers and a pair of displaying Great Crested Grebes.

In honour of all the Mipits going over this morning below is a a picture of one in the hand.

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