Wednesday, 16 April 2014
Flood does us another Flava
Hello. Dan again.
Two Lesser Redpolls flew over my Marsh abode as soon as I left the front door, so I harboured the hope that some frantic visible migration was on the cards. However, the sky seemed quiet and almost empty today, with just 8 redpoll sp. and a few each of alba wagtail, Swallow and Sand Martin heading north.
Jon had the pick of the flyovers today, with an early morning Yellow Wagtail overhead near Freeman's Pools, presumably a remnant of yesterday's flava-fest. He'd also had eight White Wagtails, 2 Wheatears and the year's first Common Whitethroat before I'd even rolled out of bed.
By the time I was on the prowl I only connected with his newly-arrived male Whitethroat, and The Flood was so dead I wondered whether a Sparrowhawk had been marauding there. The maize fields were more lively, with at least forty Linnets and a similar number of Meadow Pipits as well as a lone white wag.
Two Redshanks were displaying over the maize fields, as were 8 or 9 Lapwings. Three pink-feet were on the marsh. The squawks of a Jay or Jays emanated from Freeman's Wood.
A drake Red-breasted Merganser was on the river by Gull Bank, as were eight Eiders. A Peregrine was hunting over Colloway Marsh, and looking south from the pylons, c500 Black-tailed Godwits were seen up over Glasson.
A few minutes after hearing its wheedling song I was pleased to see Aldcliffe's first Common Sandpiper of the year flitting upstream over the rising water.
Lesser Whitethroats were very much in evidence throughout the main drag, with 6-7 singers-- a fantastic total for so early in April. In some years the 16th has been the early arrival date for this species, and one couldn't bank on more than one or two mid-month. A friend wonders whether unusually high temperatures in the Middle East could account for this super early influx.
By the time I'd checked out the Stodday hedges and plantations (not much doing save confirming that the Long-tailed Tit nest is occupied by an incubating bird) and returned to Aldcliffe Hall Lane, the flood had been transformed.
Aside from being topped up by the high tide via the parish's arcane subterranean channels, it was packed with birds; fifteen White Wagtails, five Brit albas, four Little Ringed Plovers, a few mipits, Redshanks and--hooray-- a male Yellow Wagtail.
After this high point I went a little dense, with a distant high-flying Grey Heron momentarily fooling me into thinking it was an Osprey (well, it was going N!), and a single Whimbrel-like titter going un-clinched. But it was an enjoyable day nonetheless.