Monday, 14 April 2014

Saturday and Sunday 12th and 13th April

Lesser Whitethroat both pics (c) Mike Kosniowski

Busy Treecreeper (c) Pat Galka

L.R.P. (c) Peter Law

Goldfinch (c) Andy Last

Chiffy (c) Andy Last
Spring really came with a bang last week and migrants have arrived in numbers some sadly only on passage others for the summer.
One of our most stunning passage birds is fresh summer plumaged Redstart. The first one this year was found on Thursday evening in Long Meadow, a female. Although elusive it was great to see her trembling her red-gold tail in the evening light. It is easy to understand how they got their old country name of "fire flirt". It is also good to know that they will return and spend a bit longer here in the late summer. At least two males were flaunting their colours in the same place on Saturday and another probably seen on Sunday.
The hedgerows are full of singing Blackcaps and Willow Warblers. There are also good numbers of Lesser Whitethroats present and they are beginning to scratch out their finch like trills. We have not had a similar influx of Common Whitethroats and this is concerning as usually they arrive before the Lessers.
On both days there were large flocks of Sand Martins moving through and smaller parties of Swallows. A Little Ringed Plover was in front of the hide and two Oystercatchers were seen to fly out towards the flood field as did four Dunlin. The Ring-tailed Harrier is still present but raptor numbers have dropped off a little, a reflection of the fact that the big flocks of prey species have moved off.
While watching a very obliging and confiding Wheatear at Noke on Sunday we noticed it turn its head and look straight up. Badger followed its sightline and there was a Peregrine passing really high above us, extraordinary perception at such a distance.
Yet again our lone Beardie was on patrol and the best place to see her seems to be the "crossroads" where the bridle way is crossed by the path between the screens and the hide. Further along the bridleway Treecreepers are very busy and easily seen in the large oak trees.
With the first rush of migration over we can look forward to the stragglers arriving Garden and Grasshopper Warblers are due next and lets hope for a good but late influx of Common Whitethroats. More Cuckoos and our star summer specials of Hobby and Turtle Doves are to be looked for and looked forward to.

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