Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Stop in the Name of Plove

Guest blogger Dan Haywood here. Happy March to you all.

A few small signs of Spring on the patch this afternoon, most notably the first Little Ringed Plover of the year on The Flood. Looked to be a male. What a handsome devil.

Not for the first time, this summer visitor seems to have beaten fellow early-starters Wheatear & Sand Martin back from Africa. No sign of either of those two on (or over) the patch so far this month.

A flock of eighteen Linnets was by Darter Pool. My highest 2014 count of an Aldcliffe species perhaps best described as a partial migrant. They can occur here in Winter but are more regular as the sap rises, being a scarce breeder and common vis-migger.

A total of nineteen Gadwalls were around the various pools. At least 8 Lapwings were on territory in the maize stubble fields and giving a Carrion Crow a bit of a battering.

Around 500 Pink-footed Goose were on Heaton Marsh today.

Over the past week I've been enjoying the work of a pair of Long-tailed Tits. Starting base-first, their domed nest is now almost complete, woven into a track-side bramble bush.

It appears to be final touches at the moment, with appliqué lichen scraps (and even gossamer) on the exterior and feathers being appropriated for the lining.

Please inspect my snap of one half of the pair at the foot of this posting. It seems to me an unusually pale-bonced individual. Obviously not in the caudatus race category, but much less badger-headed than most, including its partner. Any thoughts?

Speaking of stripy head-sides, the hybrid Eurasian Wigeon x American Wigeon I had on the patch on February 6th has quit its subsequent haunt of Glasson and has re-appeared up the hill at Blea Tarn Reservoir, 4.5 kilometres to the NE.


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