Friday, March 26, 2010

Wheats And Chiffs

After a morning in the swimming pool and the sauna, an afternoon walk in the fresh air beckoned, particularly since overnight rain and southerly winds promised a little migration and the possibility of a few more Wheatears.

So I did my Lane Ends to Pilling Water walk where at the rocks next to Pilling Water I found 9 Wheatears, set two traps and within a few minutes caught two of the birds, an adult male and a probable adult female.

Wheatear

Wheatear

Wheatear

Tasty Mealworms

I spent more time trying to catch others but I all I got was a sprung trap with nothing in it. Sometimes the wriggling mealworm sets off the trap or a Wheatear approaching from the wrong side can trigger it without the bird being caught. As we might expect in March the Wheatears I have caught this week have all been of the nominate Eurasian race Oenanthe oenanthe with wing lengths between 92 and 97mm, bang in middle of the BWP quoted range of 90-102mm. I normally don’t expect to see any obviously bigger and brighter “Greenland” types until the middle of April.

So I turned my attention to counting what was out on the marsh and round about even though the high tide had been four hours before.

Pilling Water Out To Heysham

I had a count of 6 Little Egrets, and whilst there have been a number throughout the winter, I think I detected a little further migration of this species in the last few weeks. There was also a number of Redshank again today, maybe 110, more migrants on their way to Iceland and points north. The Peregrine was on duty today again which is a bit surprising considering it looks like an adult male and should perhaps be expected to be in the throes of breeding, unless of course it is doing so close by.

It’s a strange time of year as we wait for the spring migrants to arrive whilst still counting the winter visitors, like today when I estimated 2200 Pink-footed Geese out on the marsh; any day now they will be off to Iceland in huge groups.

Pink-footed Goose

Back at Lane Ends I sat at the picnic table that the moronic creatures of the night have begun to disassemble. It was in the hope that a Chiffchaff might just sing in the afternoon warmth, but below the bank I spied one just flitting silently through the branches of a willow; and then blow me if another further away didn’t start up singing, hesitatingly at first as they do, but then slowly breaking into that monotone but very welcome chiff–chaff, chiff-chaff. Definitely two then, and probably a male and a female.

3 comments:

Birdringal-andalus said...

I have not seen any on here friend Phil, must be of the eastern passage.
Have you tried to use winged ants? are most effective.
Regards, Fernando.

Unravel said...

The Wheatear looks very handsome.
I've seen two species of wheatear, the Isabelline Wheatear and a juvenile Variable Wheatear in India, but they were all so gull and forgettable.

Phil said...

Hola Fernando,It's a bit cold here for flying ants but mealworms work superb. Thanks for the tip. Regards, Phil

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