The weather people now say we have to wait until the middle of next week for warmer temperatures. If and when such warmth eventually arrives there’s sure to be a flood of birds, but in the meantime out on the moss this morning it was 1°C again at early doors with no surprises when all the birds were of the wintering kind.
I had a couple of nets up for a while before the wind arrived again, time enough to catch 5 Goldfinch, 3 Reed Bunting, 2 Chaffinch and a single Brambling. The latter was a recapture from recent weeks, one of the Goldfinch a regular from 2010, 2011 and 2012 and a breeding male.
The morning kicked off with a Barn Owl, just one bird now where last week I was seeing two of them regularly, one of those probably a bird I found dead on 1st April. Let’s hope there’s a current surplus of Barn Owls large enough to fill gaps caused by winter losses. This Barn Owl hunts over a square half-mile or more from its night-time roost, flying a regular beat across the fields, along fence lines and woodland edge but seems to rarely cover the same ground twice in the one outing. There’s a lot of energy expended with seemingly not much reward at the moment, as I rarely see it catch anything to eat.
Into April and there are few birds at the feeding station now, the Reed Buntings thinned to 8 or 10, similar numbers of Chaffinch and Goldfinch with just odds and ends of Bramblings. Including today gives a total of 43 new Reed Buntings caught here since January 1st, not to mention the bonus of a Little Bunting amongst them.
Overhead happenings this morning were limited to a single Siskin heading north and a noisy party of about 20 Fieldfares flying north-east. There are still regular flocks of 200+ Curlew, 15+ Golden Plover and 50+ Lapwing on fields towards Pilling, but a single pair of Lapwings close to the ringing station could well be on eggs now. This pair constantly chases off the local Carrion Crows suggesting something more than a simple territorial dispute.
After seeing and hearing huge wintering flocks clattering through the skies since November, the Woodpigeon flocks are now much reduced in size and more easily counted to less than a hundred individuals today.
Raptors today: 2 Buzzard, 2 Kestrel and 1 Sparrowhawk. A day or two ago I noticed the male Kestrel is ringed, probably one of the nestlings Will and I ringed here in June 2010 and now occupying the same territory in which it was born.
On the way off the farm I counted 11 Yellowhammers scattered across a yet to be ploughed field, the birds still finding some goodness in the soil, and nearby still 15 Corn Buntings.
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