Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Quietly Trying

The instrument panel flashed 1⁰C and there was a film of this ice on the windscreen. It had been another clear, cold night and one that tends to both clear migrant birds out while not leaving any new ones in their place. As strange as it might seem, the best weather for finding new migrants is that of a rather changeable scenario with showers and the odd weather front or two, conditions which make migrant birds interrupt their often non-stop journeys. 

I drove up to Conder to check the pool where I found 36 Tufted Duck dominating the water, then 8 Shelduck, a single Cormorant, 2 Canada Goose and 30 or so Mute Swans. Floating around on the margins of the tufty gang was a single Gadwall, a very uncommon duck here. In fact it was probably the first Gadwall I’ve ever seen just here. A pair of Teal continue to feed in the tidal channel. 


Waders were represented by 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Curlew, 15 Redshank, 14 Oystercatcher and 2 Lapwing. The Oystercatchers are mostly paired up now, as are the Redshanks whereby both species breed here, as do Lapwings in most years. There didn’t seem to be much passerine activity apart from a Reed Bunting singing from the area of the road bridge. A number of both Sand Martins and Swallow flew through heading north but generally the arrival of both species and also House Martin has not yet been huge. 

Fluke Hall was the next port of call where things were equally quiet. I saw my first Whitethroat of the year along the old hedgerow, and there was a single male “Greenland” Wheatear on the nearby rockery. Whitethroats seem late this year whereby my calendar is marked at 15th April for the first Whitethroat to be rattling along the hedgerows.


The woodland gave up singing Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Willow Warbler (2), and Song Thrush (3), whilst at least one of the 20+ Blackbirds was busily collecting food. Two Buzzards soared over the wood and there was a single and unusually silent Jay flying through the trees. 

Song Thrush

It was 10am and on the way home I stooped to watch a Barn Owl hunting nearby fields. That’s pretty late in the morning for a Barn Owl to be out and about. I’m guessing it was hunting to feed at least one other mouth. It proved an agreeable end to my somewhat quiet morning of birding, but there’s more birding and ringing soon from Another Bird Blog. 

Andy’s back from Gibraltar with tales of Bee Eaters, Black Kites and Blue Rock Thrushes. I’m sure I’ll hear all about those “Bs” fairly soon when we meet up for a ringing session at Oakenclough. 

Linking today to Stewart's World Bird Wednesday.


eileeninmd said...

Hi Phil, the weather sounds cold there.. We had a storm roll through yesterday..Maybe I should get out there. Great post and I love the Song Thrush! Happy Birding!


Another excellent adventure. With awesome photos.

Does Andy have a blog? I'd like to read about his "B" adventures too.

Anyway, Phil, I thought of your banding expertise and wanted to share this...I'd like to invite you to Hootin' Anni's to view a special post of nature's thrilling day for me.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Needless to say yet again that your bird count would be high for me and wonderful sightings. I guess we might have come close on Merritt Island maybe.

When we were in Texas Gulf Coast one spring, storms somewhere caused what the birders called a Fallout..so that's many migratories not usually seen came down there. Every bird I saw there was new to me at the time, so I didn't really take in the miracle of it completely.

Margaret Adamson said...

Another great post Phil despite the cold. My weather on Copeland was better and a small amount of birds were ringed but my highlight wasseeing the first Puffin to be seen this year

Linda said...

Beautiful captures, Phil, and I love the reflections in your first photo!!! Here in Montreal it is rainy and chilly, both yesterday and today.

TexWisGirl said...

beautiful whitethroat and thrush. glad you got to see the gadwall!

Adam Jones said...

Still waiting for my first Whitethroat. They do seem late this year. Smashing pictures as always.

Adam Tilt said...

Great to see the migrants arriving again. Just seen our first Whitethroat locally as well.

Karen said...

A beautiful trio Phil. Love the reflection of the gadwall.

Going to be minus 3 here in the morning with snow showers :(

Marie C said...

The photo of the Gadwall is absolutely stunning! Great post!

Mosura said...

Wonderful photos - I especially like the Gadwall.

David Gascoigne said...

Quietly trying, huh. Is that a confession?

Wally Jones said...

When you total up your "quiet" day at the various locations it seems you ended up with quite a nice birding trip. Good show on spotting the Gadwall! I hope your tardy Whitethroats make an appearance soon.

I have difficulty imagining ice on the windscreen at any time of year, much less in late April! I would lend you a coat but it would take me until autumn to find one.

Superb photographs as usual and a delight to see how it's properly done!

Here's hoping your clear weather turns a bit stormy to encourage migrants to pay you a visit.

Stay warm!

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