Like other migrants the Wheatears have been thin on the ground so far this year, and before today the most I’d seen together was a trio just a couple of weeks ago, before the northerly winds set in. I doubled that count today when I found 6 along the sea wall at Pilling.
The Wheatears gave me the run around for a while but eventually two of them succumbed to the temptation of meal worms.
Both birds were probably Oenanthe oenanthe leucorhoa, one a rather chunky bird with a wing length of 106mm, the smaller bird a wing of 102mm, the latter a little in the overlap range. Both birds were quite bright with underparts a fairly extensive buff cinnamon, bearing in mind that oenanthe is very variable with the darkest birds similar to a pale leucorhoa.
As I waited for the Wheatears to surrender the birding yielded 4 Swallow, 1 Kestrel, 1 Buzzard, 300 Pink-footed Geese, 3 Willow Warbler, 1 Chifchaff, 1 Reed Bunting, 6 Teal, 90 Golden Plover, 1 Greenfinch, 4 Linnet.
The forecast for the week ahead is a mixed bag of everything that a UK April brings - showers, rain, sun and wind. Just the stuff to drop some migrants from up high – here’s hoping.