Saturday, April 2, 2011

Twin Wheats

It was a waiting game this morning, hanging fire until the wind and rain stopped again. At 1 o'clock I set off for Pilling armed with a few spring traps, hoping that the rain had dropped a few Wheatears on the coast and better still, if any were about they might hang around when the sun came out. I found five together, 3 males and 2 females, plus several Meadow Pipits, so set a couple of traps with mealworms.

I thought luck had escaped me when first a Sparrowhawk scattered the birds, then two minutes later a Merlin came by. Eventually the Wheatears returned to the same sheltered sunny spot and I caught 2 females, both second calendar year birds I think. Female Wheatears aren’t terribly easy to age, especially when it’s during spring and autumn only when we see a few in the hand.




As I waited to catch, I watched 2 Kestrels and a Little Egret in the area of the wildfowler’s pools until the Wheatears moved along the sea wall and towards Lane Ends. I followed the Wheatears up to the edge of the plantation until they flew out to the marsh and probably north across to Heysham. On the pools Little Grebes called from the water's edge and a Chiffchaff sang from nearby trees.


All in all it proved a pleasant little interlude, and here’s hoping for a few more Wheatears fresh in from Africa to enliven spring ringing.

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