Monday, 4 May 2009

Still Velvet...22nd April

I was birding at Rossall Point again this morning with an old friend of mine and the two Velvet Scoters were still present. Very twitchable if you are sad enough to keep a Fylde list! Wildfowl and associated families were to feature again this morning as we had 196 Eiders and 3 Great Crested Grebes.

The visible migration was contemporary with recent days and in just under 3 hours we had my first Yellow Wagtail of the spring, 9 Linnets, 74 Meadow Pipits, 11 Tree Pipits, 14 Lesser Redpolls, 32 Swallows, 3 Chaffinch, 3 Goldfinch, Sand Martin and Grey Wagtail.

Seabird passage was limited to 12 Gannets, 12 Sandwich Terns, Peregirne (honourary seabird!), pale and dark morph Arctic Skuas, 2 Auk sp., Guillemot and 40 Arctic Terns. The Arctic Skuas approached together from the west and worked as a team harrying Sandwich Terns until they headed off to the east.

I haven't mentioned passage waders of late but today we had 1,000 Knot, 7 Whimbrels and 30 Turnstones. A quick look in Fleetwood Cemetery produced single Siskin and Lesser Redpoll, and 2 Willow Warblers.

The highlight at Fleetwood Marsh Nature Park, if you can call it that, was a Grey Heron swallowing an adult Little Grebe. When we caught up with the action the Grebe was about half swallowed with the lower half of its' body and legs sticking out of the Heron's bill. The Heron repeatedly kept swallowing water in attempt to flush the Grebe down and after about 5 minutes it finally got the Grebe down! Interestingly my trainee ringer, Craig, was helping to ring some Heron chicks in Greater Manchester this week and one of the chicks spat out a duckling!

I had my first Coot broods out at the Nature Park and we had broods of 4, 3, 1 and 1. The only bird of note, other than the singing Reed and Sedge Warblers, was a single reeling Grasshopper Warbler.

Back at home emptying my moth trap was getting a bit predictable with 3 Hebrew Characters and an Early Grey.

One of the most evocative species at this time of year that sums up migration is the Swallow. There is nothing more that represents migration than Swallows zipping low along the coast heading north. The picture below was sent to me by fellow ringer Kane from Greater Manchester who managed to catch this cracking bird by hand!

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