Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Flava of the Month, or Yellow Peril

Dan here.

After a couple of days away the patch seemed to be gently pulsing with new blood this morning; lots more Willow Warblers (one pictured) with c20 dotted around, a couple of extra male Blackcaps and 2 Lesser Whitethroats doing the old squiggle and rattle in the hedgerows..

Ten White Wagtails (the continental cousins of our Pied) were on The Flood along with three of the British race, where three Little Ringed Plovers were feeding.

A Black-tailed Godwit was at the Wildfowlers pools, as were two Snipe. A pair of Stock Doves were at the foot of Trig Hill and 3 Pink-footed were on the marsh.

After a good look round I thought it safe to retreat to the vantage platform near Marsh Point, perhaps to spy a late-ish Osprey and log some passerine vis mig.

Following a couple of hours of light Redpoll sp. and Siskin passage (c20 and c8 respectively) plus 10 Swallows and 22 Sand Martins, I was pleased to hear the refreshing spizzz of a migrating Tree Pipit and a short while later thrilled by a heard-only but northbound Yellow Wagtail.

As most of you will be aware, yellow wags are highly desirable round these parts...I daresay they haven't bred in the parish for several decades, and I could count the number of my Aldcliffe records (in 15 years) on one slightly mutated hand-- and one of those was of the blue-headed race.

I felt even more smug than usual that I had concentrated on the skies, which had seemed like the right thing to do in clear and fairly calm conditions. But ignore the muddy deck at your peril, because shortly after the tripit/flava one-two I heard on the grapevine that a Mr. Woodruff had just been watching a terrestrial Yellow Wagtail just a kilometre away.

Having being trumped by a visitor, I sloped home to lick my wounds in front of the computer, only to read that U3A shrikefinder general Jeff Butcher had also visited MY patch and had found TWO YWs in the same spot as Mr. Woodruff.

Traumatising. Whether today's yellow fever relates to 'just' two or the more likely three individuals is difficult to say, but either way, it's a very good result for this species in 21st Century Aldcliffe.

In other yellow news. 2-3 male Brimstone butterflies were seen patrolling. Also an early Green-veined White.



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