In twenty five years of birding and ringing this spring has been possibly the quietest I’ve experienced, with both a lack of numbers and a shortage of species. Birders are good at theorising or coming up with excuses as to why birds don’t do as we would like, but my own humble explanation for the season’s dull migration is the constant northerly winds and cool weather which has blighted the whole of April.
This morning I went out to the moss hoping for a change of luck and stuck a couple of nets up whilst wandering about. Explorations through and around the ringing site generated 7 or 8 Willow Warblers, a single Blackcap, one singing Whitethroat, plus a small number of Goldfinches loyal to the feeders.
The ringing total proved pitiful once again with just 4 Goldfinch and a single Willow Warbler caught. This left Goldfinch as by far the most numerous capture for April with 29 individuals with other species lagging far behind.
Birding was similarly quiet, the highlight being 3 Whimbrel feeding in the grassy field beyond the ringing site. In some areas of the UK the Whimbrel is known as the Seven Whistler due to its distinctive tittering call, often uttered in flight.
Other birds this morning: Reed Bunting, 2 Corn Bunting, 4 Linnet, 1 Buzzard, 1 Kestrel and Little Owl on the barn roof again as I arrived on site. Soon after first light the owl disappears into the roof space of the barn to somewhere meet up with a partner.