Friday, 23 April 2010

Black Magic

I did my usual Friday afternoon thing, which is to finish early from work and drop some seed off at the feeding bins on Rawcliffe Moss and have a walk round. It was a fairly warm afternoon with a light southwesterly wind and complete cloud cover.

I set off down the track and had my first Buzzard thermalling and slowly drifting north. On my walk round I would have another three Buzzards and two male Kestrels. In the hedge besides the track I had a male Reed Bunting and a Lesser Redpoll 'buzzed' south. I had my first Willow Warbler of the afternoon in the '97' hedge, a singing bird in the L Wood and five singing males when I got to the plantation.

As usual I had three singing Skylarks above the cereal fields and ones and twos of Swallows headed north throughout my walk. Looking across the recently 'rolled' field in front of Curlew Wood I had five males and a single female Wheatear. Also, in the ploughed field between the plantation and the Fir Wood I had a further four males and two female Wheatears. Some of the males were definitely 'Greenland' birds being larger, brighter and having a more 'upright' jizz.

The 'Black Magic' that Wheatears and Wagtails can't

Awfully 'digi-binned' Wheatear

In the same field were five White Wagtails and three Tree Sparrows. In addition to these three Tree Sparrows I had a further three in other locations. I had two singing Corn Buntings on my walk round and in the plantation I had two singing Whitethroats.

The plantation 'greening' up

Walking back towards the car I had a calling Whimbrel and calling Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Blackthorn blossom

Back at home at tea time and enjoying a Cafetiere in my conservatory I received a phone call from Ian saying that there were fourteen Wheatears feeding together along a fence line at Rossall School and did I fancy having a go at catching them. I threw four spring traps into the boot along with a carton of meal worms and set off for Rossall.

By the time I had got there some of the dog walkers had split the birds up, but we still had a go. At one stage Ian set off to do a large 'loop' and try and push the Wheatears towards the traps. I watched Ian watching what I thought were the Wheatears and then he rang me on my mobile to say that he was watching a male Black Redstart! I ran across the fields carrying bag, ringing box and meal worms and got to Ian completely out of breath. But there perched on the fence post and wires was a second year male Black Red! More Black Magic!

We gave up on trying to catch Wheatears and headed home. Back at home I had my first Swift of the year. So a nice end to an interesting and frustrating afternoon.


Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Bet that black red was along zilch alley earlier in the day - why can't we be in two places at the same time?



Pete Marsh said...

Definitely an 'afternoon day' at Heysham if Wheatear are anything to go by - need to post the (extra) Wheatear totals tomorrow. Absolutely zilch migrant-wise pre-0700hrs!