Birds: April 2014
Fog remained stubbornly until mid morning, but lifted to reveal a lovely, warm spring day with a light SE breeze. Avian highlights were 2 smart adult Med. Gulls on the shore with a small party of Bar-tailed Godwits and the female Ring Ouzel near the sailing club, but the BWT seems to have disappeared, unless it (and its mate) have taken the art of lurking to new heights.
Post-lunch update – the BWT is still here, but is very elusive.
The morning was distemper grey with not much more than the female Ring Ouzel, the 2 Egyptian Geese and the BWT, lurking among the rushes, to recommend it, although a Firecrest was trapped in the Whitehouse.
The BWT, female Ring Ouzel and the Egyptian Geese were still present, with new arrivals represented by a Wood Sandpiper and 2 Avocets on the scrape.
It was a rather chilly, standing still sort of day, with the BWT still in situ by St.George’s bushes, the 2 Egyptian Geese on the scrape, the female Ring Ouzel near the sailing club and an overflying Siskin; the first for over 3 weeks.
There were probably 3 Ring Ouzels in the vicinity of the sailing club this morning, with the arrival of a new female, while a Redwing was trapped and the Blue-winged Teal was still skulking among the rushes by St.George’s bushes.
The morning was overcast, calm and humid after some light overnight rain and it was soon clear that some arrivals had taken place overnight. 2 Song Thrushes departed high to the NE from the Oasis and, in what has already been a good spring for Ring Ouzels, 2 males were bouncing about near the sailing club, with a stunning male Redstart on the nearby fence. 6 Wheatears were scattered along the shore and 2 Cuckoos were chasing around St.George’s bushes, where the Blue-winged Teal was sailing between clumps of rush on the adjacent flood. There was also a Common Sandpiper on the reservoir at the Chequers and a Green Sandpiper and a Greenshank flew N.
The Blue-winged Teal had decamped to a flood near St.George’s bushes this morning, while the Ring Ouzel was still present near the sailing club, a Cuckoo was calling on New Downs and 2 Greenshanks were on the river near Backsand.
Highlight of the morning was a female BLUE-WINGED TEAL on the scrape – only the second Observatory record of a species that was first seen on 14th April 1970. According to the field guide it ‘often associates with Shovelers’ and given that it and a male Shoveler were mating, that’s putting it mildly. Otherwise, the 2 Egyptian Geese were on the scrape edge, both Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers put in an appearance and 4 Whimbrel were seen on New Downs, where a local rarity in the shape of a Great Crested Grebe was on Backsand Scrape. 4 flava wagtails were on Restharrow Dunes in the afternoon, including one blue-headed and a couple of blue-grey-naped individuals that possessed some blue-headed characteristics.
The Ring Ouzel has remained throughout the Easter break, which also brought a Garden Warbler and two Little Ringed Plovers on the 2oth. Today was fairly quiet on the Estate, although a Hobby was seen over the scrape in the afternoon and new arrivals on Worth included a Turtle Dove and a Whinchat.
A rasping NE wind took the edge off the warmth, though some movement was evident along the shore, including 2 adult Med Gulls, 6 Black-tailed Godwits that flew high from the south and on over the scrape and a very late Lapland Bunting. 3 Wheatears were also apparent.
2 Cranes that were found on Worth yesterday evening were still present this morning, as was the drake Garganey on Restharrow Scrape. The Cranes eventually departed NE out to sea at 0945. A Med Gull flew S offshore but in a gathering SW breeze it was otherwise fairly quiet, though a Red Kite flew over in the afternoon.
Well now. While St.George’s bushes is generally not regarded as prime wader habitat, it currently looks like a wet corner of somewhere in Finland, so it was not greatly surprising that 8 Green Sandpipers were seen there this morning. 7 of them eventually flew NE together, having visited the scrape on the way, where there was also a drake Garganey, with a Black-tailed Godwit and a Spotted Redshank on the turf field nearby. 8 Whitethroats and a Lesser Whitethroat were also on the Estate, but a cold SE wind otherwise kept activity subdued.
One of the Ring Ouzels was still present near the shore and 11 Swallows, 4 Sand Martins, 202 Linnets and 23 Goldfinches flew into a decidedly chilly NE wind. Waders included a Green Sandpiper that flew from the still flooded St.George’s bushes and a Greenshank and a Spotted Redshank on the scrape, a Nightingale sang briefly from the Elms and at least 11 Blackcaps were scattered about.
2 Ring Ouzels were flitting about between the gullies and the shore this morning, while 103 Linnets, 14 Swallows, 2 Yellow Wagtails and 6 alba wagtails few into a chill NW wind which, despite the sunshine, kept activity rather subdued.
The Hooded Crow remained on the field behind the scrape, at least until the shepherdess arrived with her flock, appropriately enough for a Sunday morning. There were 9 Blackcaps on the Estate, but it was otherwise fairly quiet.
This morning’s highlights included a Hooded Crow behind the scrape, where a Little Ringed Plover was also seen, and our first 2 Lesser Whitethroats of spring along Worth track, while the Ring Ouzel remained in the gullies.
It was a dull start with a barely perceptible breeze, following some brief pre-dawn drizzle. A few more migrants were evident, mostly Blackcaps, and a male Ring Ouzel dropped in to some shoreside elms, posing for several minutes before moving off to the gullies. 39 Swallows flew N along the shore along with moderate numbers of Linnets, which fell just short of a pre-lunch hundred.
The morning was increasingly sunny, but activity was slacker than yesterday, although a Green Sandpiper tittered northward along the shore and our first Reed Warbler was chuntering away from a ditch by the railway.
There is currently a real sense of the migratory floodgates having opened, presumably as better weather has descended across France and the Iberian peninsula. New for the year this morning were Nightingale, Redstart and Whitethroat, all in song, while northward moving birds included 112 Linnets, a Yellow Wagtail, a Whimbrel, 2 Bramblings, 12 Swallows, 5 House Martins and 4 Sand Martins. 2 Egyptian Geese flew over the Obs early on, 3 Med. Gulls were calling along the shore, where there were our first 8 Wheatears for over a week and a party of 5 rather handsome white wagtails on the shingle. A male Ring Ouzel was seen from the hide at Restharrow, 5 Willow Warblers were scattered about the Estate and a Tree Pipit was trapped in the Oasis.
Theoretically, with a frisky W wind and no cloud until mid morning it should have been a quiet affair, but it turned out to be rather good. A three-hour sojourn on the beach produced 9 Swallows, 3 House Martins, 3 Sand Martins and 166 Linnets, while 3 Whimbrel flew N just inland, 4 Med Gulls flew over and a Black-throated Diver flew N and a Red-breasted Merganser flew S offshore. A Willow Warbler, 4 Blackcaps and 4 Chiffchaffs were on the Estate and 2 Harbour Porpoises passed by not far out, adding to a good set of late March/early April cetacean records in the last few years.
Conditions steadily deteriorated to become very wet by mid morning. Despite a southerly breeze there was nothing moving offshore and the highlight inland was a Green Sandpiper on the scrape, at least until the onset of the rain which prompted the arrival of 2 Avocets, a Little Ringed Plover and a Yellow Wagtail at the scrape and at least 11 Dunlin and 3 Sand Martins overhead.
A grey, overcast and cool day with drizzle in the air was hampered by a blustery SW wind. A few migrants continue to struggle in, including Willow and Sedge Warblers along Worth track, where the Ring Ouzel was seen briefly, and a few Swallows. There was also a Firecrest in the Elms and 2 Egyptian Geese and a Raven on New Downs – the geese dropped on to Restharrow Scrape in the afternoon.
A warm, sunny day brought our first Swallow and Willow Warbler of spring, a Cetti’s Warbler, trapped in the Heligoland, and a late morning raptor passage that involved 2 Red Kites, 6 Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk.
3 adult Mediterranean Gulls were calling in the murk near HQ first thing and it proved to be a morning for gulls, with 73 intermedius Lesser Black-backs moving N, while wader movement continued with a Black-tailed Godwit that flew from the still flooded bits of Restharrow Dunes.
A walk along the shore this morning was very quiet and just to rub it in a Green Sandpiper and a Redpoll flew over more or less where I’d started from.
A misty, murky morning was wet enough underfoot to resemble an evening T20 in Chittagong, though for the English it had more to recommend it, with a male Ring Ouzel along the blackthorn hedge leading to the railway, a Kingfisher on the North Stream, 5 Sand Martins N and an overflying Redpoll. On the Estate were at least 8 Chiffchaffs and 4 Blackcaps, but it was otherwise very quiet.
The start of the month was bright and sunny – a good deal more interesting for butterflies than birds, although a Blackcap was singing in the Elms, 6 singing Chiffchaffs were scattered about the Estate and a light trickle of Linnets was apparent along the shore