Saturday, 29 March 2014

Phyll Under: Beautiful

Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus) Freeman's Wood

Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) Freeman's Wood
Hello. Dan here.
I woke up to the kind of text message I like-- it read 'lots of lovely Wheatears down Aldcliffe'. It was from patch veteran Guy McLelland. He was admiring fifteen of them on the saltmarsh from along Dawson's Bank.
By the time I'd rolled out of bed most of them had moved on (they are migrants after all), but two males were sight for a sore eyes after what has felt like a long wait. They were a bit distant (mingling with a few Oystercatchers and some geese) but I soon got to see some other summer migrants close up.
A bonnie and slightly early male Willow Warbler was my first of 2014. It being March, Chiffchaffs were of course more numerous, with about 7 singers and 2 skulkers dotted around the parish. My friend takes a far better photograph than I, and the subtle beauty of the WW and CCs has been expertly captured above, for your blog-viewing pleasure.
A Little Ringed Plover was on the flood and a Green Sandpiper was on the margins of Frog Pond.
Todays big story was perhaps vis mig,.. a strong NE passage of Meadow Pipits was apparent well into the afternoon and a few Siskins were heard moving overhead. But they weren't assiduously recorded and I'm sorry to say that for most of today I just wandered around in the sun like a bloody tourist.
Circa 800 Pink-footed were seen hazily on Colloway Marsh. A further 200 or so were on Aldcliffe Marsh.
Three Small Tortoiseshells and a Comma were noted but warm sunshine or no, I suspect that today's strong easterlies were keeping butterflies down.
Later I gamely ventured OARA (out of Aldcliffe recording area). I saw two year-tick Sand Martins & the regular Spotted Redshank duo at Conder Green, and yet more steady Meadow Pipit passage practically everywhere.

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