Sunday, 27 April 2014

Martins Freemans

Dan again.

A stiff east-north-easterly with lots of cloud seemed promising this morning, but (for the Aldcliffe area at least) no Black Terns went through the only action was visible migration of small birds.

There has been so little vis mig for the last week or so that although this mornings traffic wasn't spectacular, it was an enjoyable change nonetheless.

Hirundines headed the tables, with around 140 Swallows noted heading NNE between eight and eleven AM. 55 Sand Martins headed through too, as did 19 House Martins--the strongest showing of the latter species so far this year. The breeze was a strong enough headwind for the birds to use a low more river-oriented routing than is usual here-- presumably getting some shelter from the estuary banks.

A late April resurgence of northbound Meadow Pipits (25) and two Lesser Redpolls almost completed the picture, but Goldfinches and Linnets seemed to be on the move too. Because both of the latter finches breed in the parish it's harder to monitor what's what, but I suspect some light passage was underway.

Whimbrels were quite conspicuous today, with 2 on Colloway Marsh, 5 by Stodday picnic area and a party of four which dropped in from the south for a couple of minutes then headed off quite high to the east.

I ventured south of the parish boundary hoping to hear a passage Wood Warbler in the bluebell carpeted Meldham Wood (no luck of course), and kept going until I hit evidence of a night-migrant influx in the Crook Farm/ Crook Cottage area near Cockersands. A cluster of symptoms indicating a small fall included 5 Willow Warblers (very scarce there), 3 Whinchats and a babbling Blackcap (again--a rare sight in such an open Fylde habitat).

Just goes to show how hit and miss things can be...just a few miles away, Aldcliffe's hedgerows and marshes seemed pretty new arrival-free.


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