Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It Aint Right

With a bright sunny start the idea this morning was to get out birding but also go someplace other than the currently windswept coast where at the moment it’s back to hat and scarf days. Not only is it very windy, but lashing in from the North West it’s also absolutely the wrong direction for spring passerines.

The other priority was filling the nyger feeders at Rawcliffe because if the wind does eventually subside to allow another ringing session there should be more Goldfinch and Lesser Redpoll for the remaining weeks of April. As I walked into the feeding area I disturbed about a dozen Goldfinch and a couple of Lesser Redpoll from the tube feeders, plus ground feeding Chaffinches getting stuck into the nyger. I easily emptied a one litre container of black stuff into the six feeders, and that’s since topping up on Sunday, so there are obviously still lots of visitors.



The windy conditions didn’t stop the Willow Warblers singing and as I walked the wood from bottom to top I counted eight without any difficulty.

Warning calls of a Chaffinch led me to look in a 5ft hawthorn, possibly the only one with leaves opening sufficiently to hide an April nest, and there it was dead centre, a green-grey lump of moss and lichen, but as yet unlined; the first of my BTO Nest Records for 2011. As I walked the plantation I heard 2 more Redpoll fly over and watched a Swallow battle north into the wind. Within a few minutes and down at the farm buildings I noticed a Swallow going in and out of an annually used shed: they don’t waste any time these Swallows.


If only the Little Owls were as predictable as the Swallows with their choice of nesting spot. It’s just a little early to check whether one sitting near the entrance this morning means the pair has actually taken up residence in the provided home, or whether they fool us into checking an empty box again in May.

Little Owl and nest box

Despite the wind I thought I had better check down at Pilling, just in case. Several more Swallows en route, not fly overs but birds near farm buildings and on territory again. My walk was quiet with just 3 Wheatear and 9 Linnet along the sea wall, 145 Redshank at Pilling Water, and 2 Jays plus a female Sparrowhawk to enliven proceedings at Lane Ends. In some respects there were signs of spring with a Greylag sat on a nest and a Blackbird collecting large worms for a nest containing chicks and not eggs.


There was another dead Mallard on the roadside there, freshly run over by a passing vehicle as a direct result of local idiots putting out food for the brothel ducks and abandoned chickens. So stupid are these “animal lovers” that they cannot work out that far from helping birds, throwing out bird food close to a busy roadside will simply result in the untimely and painful death of many of the creatures they supposedly help.

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