Sunday, 28 April 2013

All White Now

Singing willow warbler
It seems that spring is well and truly upon us, despite the very tardy start. And although they may be later and yet to arrive in true bulk, many of our common migrants are finally present in decent numbers. Swallows are all over the place, while multiple willow warblers, chiffchaffs, blackcaps, common whitethroats and lesser whitethroats can be seen and heard around the patch. In the past few days I have also seen my first swifts of the year, plus a couple of common sandpipers

Recent highlights as follows:

A trawl around on Saturday:
1 common sandpiper, 1 little ringed plover, 2 white wagtail, 4 gadwall - Freeman's Pools
1 white wagtail - Frog Pond
2 little ringed plover - Wildowlers' Pools
1 little ringed plover - Reedy Corner
4 little ringed plover, 8 white wagtail - the Flood
1 common sandpiper, 2 wheatear - the Creek

Common and lesser whitethroats were scattered throughout the area, their bursts of song a treat to my ears. The linnet flock discovered the day before was still in the stubble fields but better still were 2 grey partridge.
Almost as good as the arrival of any summer migrants, the sight of this cryptic pair really cheered me up. Distressingly, they are the first grey partridges that I have seen on the patch since my return in December; I was starting to think they'd finally succumbed to local extinction, much like corn bunting before them.

Scanning over the river I noticed a smart drake eider come by, and then I spotted a further 3 drakes and a duck roosting up on the marsh at Colloway - local breeders, all being well.

Friday morning, I was not terribly optimistic given the non-migrant-friendly weather...
Still, the highlights included:
1 grasshopper warbler seen well creeping around in Freeman's Wood
Flock of 18 linnet in stubble field - been very scarce over the winter, so a nice discovery.
4 wheatear were on Aldcliffe Marsh.

Yet another little ringed plover pic...
Little ringed plovers continue to be seen around place with birds on Freeman's Pools, Wildfowlers' Pools and The Flood (5 in total).
1 single snipe was also at Wildfowlers' Pools
4 gadwall (no wigeon - finally gone?) were on Freeman's Pools with a few remnant teal and the 4 tufted ducks. A pair each of oystercatcher and lapwing seem to be on territory here too. Several shelduck have been roosting on the island lately.
Again good numbers of swallows moving through with plenty of sand martins, plus a few house martins and swifts.
Just c.30 alba wagtails were still on the Flood; they were all white wagtails from what I could, bar two pieds.

White wagtail
Having spent 4 days on a residential course with the RSPB, I arrived back in Lancaster  around 3pm on Thursday. I quickly headed for Aldcliffe where over the course of 2.5 hours I recorded the following:
Several swifts (my first of year) plus both house and sand martins and swallows moving through.
Apparent fall of blackcaps - at least 10 seen mostly in and around Freeman's Wood.
A garden warbler showed uncharacteristically well, along the path by Freeman's Pools.
On the marsh there were 11 wheatear & a male whinchat .
After spotting a lone white wagtail at Frog Pond, I was amazed to find a flock of 42 feeding on the Flood with just 6 pied wagtails. What a sight! Unfortunately, they were feeding so actively that a sharpish digi-scope snap was pretty much out of the question, hence the fuzzy effort here. 
The ever present little ringed plovers were much in evidence with a pair on the Flood and 1 at Wildfowlers' Pools (incidentally, another was displaying over a grotty gravel area on Lune Ind Estate last week).
Pair of gadwall & 7 wigeon were still at Frog Pond. 5 Tufted duck and 1 female goosander were seen on Freeman's Pools.

To tie in with last week's local influx of Arctic terns and little gulls, I was fortunate enough to come across a flock of 26 Arctic terns near the creek during a brief (and breezy) visit on 21st.


1 comment:

ray said...

The Flood has been awash with White Wagtails lately ... when you first see them in these numbers you begin to think you are going mad...