I was greeted with clear skies and a 5 - 10 mph northeasterly wind as I headed off on my walk round the Obs. One of the first signs of spring at this time of year, besides lots of species starting to sing, is the build up of Common Gulls, and this morning I had 42 on the fields. Talking of Gulls there was a steady northwards passage of big Gulls this morning, mainly Herring and Great Black-backed and I only counted them for a few minutes whilst I stopped for a look on the sea and had 92 and 15 respectively. The real figure would actually have been many hundreds!
The wintering male and female Stonechats were still around and it will be interesting to see if they stop to breed or whether they are just purely wintering. A good flock of 42 Meadow Pipits were feeding behind the sea wall and this is the biggest count I've had all winter, and I suspect it is the first murmurings of a bit of spring passage.
I had my first definite spring vis in the form of three Skylarks north and a single Siskin; not much but it has to start somewhere!
I called at my farmland bird feeding station this morning and over the weekend and sightings included two Buzzards, two Jays, 15 Chaffinches, 67 Tree Sparrows, three Yellowhammers, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a singing Corn Bunting.
When I was there this morning pandemonium broke out as something was causing mayhem as 300 Jackdaws, 70 Shelducks and 80 Teal all took to the air and took along time before they settled. In fact some of the Shelducks cleared off west. I can only assume it was a raptor and if I was to put money on what species I would guess at a quartering Hen Harrier. The reason I say this is that the local birds are used to the Buzzards and Peregrine is also fairly regular (although I did also have Peregrine down as a possible contender), so a quartering Hen Harrier would certainly cause a commotion!
I met Ian at the water treatment works this morning to feed and at last our niger feeders are going down and there was a nice flock of 25 Goldfinches hanging around. The peanut feeders always empty and there is obviously an army of Tits munching through the peanuts! Best of the rest was a Buzzard, Song Thrush and a few Long-tailed Tits.
Back at home in my drive taking my boots off the House Sparrows suddenly fell silent and an immature male Sparrowhawk shot across my front garden and crashed through my thick privet hedge! It then flew up in to the Hawthorn and a House Sparrow decided to leg it and the Sparrowhawk gave chase. They both flew across the road and I was impressed with the speed of the House Sparrow. I saw the House Sparrow fly between two houses and the Sparrowhawk wasn't following, so had obviously given up the chase. A Sparrowhawk doing what it says on the tin; chasing Sparrows. Superb!