Wednesday, 1 May 2013

A Linnet In The Dung Pile

Yesterday, it was glorious for much of the day and so after work I hoofed it down to Aldcliffe for a mooch around the patch.
Freeman's Pools were unusually quiet with just a few mallard, coot and moorhens present on the water. The mute swan pair have now constructed a formidable nest in the reeds, let's hope that they can raise a brood.
On the island, a surprise came in the form of 4 smart black-tailed godwit. Not exactly unusual in the Aldcliffe area, but they scarcely visit these pools.
A couple of singing sedge warblers were my first of the year, and one in particular showed brilliantly.
Along the cycle track I came across a neat male whinchat near Darter Pool and the linnet flock in the stubble fields had increased to a rather impressive 44 birds. I carefully scanned through just in case some odd interloper might have joined them... it hadn't.
On the Flood there were still 8 white wagtails, along with 2 pairs of little ringed plover.

Brown hare tries to avoid eye-contact...
With a day off scheduled for today, I was optimistic for a good early birdy start based on the forecast. Overnight southerly winds with drizzle in the morning - what could be better? Unfortunately our friends at the Met Office were a little off and the day started bright with the wind having switched to something more south-westerly and of course the lack of precipitation had me abandoning any ideas of hoopoes, woodchat shrikes and lesser short-toed larks.
As it happened I really struggled to find anything worthy of mention, and even the white wagtail convention at the Flood had completely cleared out.
At least 20 linnet were still kicking around, including a few rummaging around in the piles of horse manure currently occupying the stubble fields.
A lone wheatear and the on-territory common and lesser whitethroats did all they could to keep me interested but I didn't even pick up any notable vis; meanwhile stacks of redpoll and a trio of tree pipit graced nearby Heysham Obs airspace...  and let's not even mention Walney's bee-eater!
Oh well, I did see my first peacock butterfly of the year and a brown hare crouched fearfully as I passed by (pictured).

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