Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Whim-Whim Situation

Dan again. Hello.

I ended up with a good variety of summer fare today, but it took me over six hours to get to that point.

Highlight was another Yellow Wagtail, which called several times as it flew low to the north along Dawsons Bank. It's been the best spring for years for this species.

In the welcome-but-a-little-overdue category were two Whimbrels. I've got a real soft spot for these waders and their pleasing calls. A Common Sandpiper was quietly bobbing at the margins of Freeman's Pools (where a Reed Bunting was in song and a Snipe was seen) and another was wheedling at Gull Bank.

A drake Eider, 4 Red-breasted Mergansers and two Common Gulls were just upstream of the pylons area, where the begging calls of young Ravens could be heard.

A small overnight influx of Common Whitethroats seems to have occurred, with five males noted in regular haunts. Five to six Lesser Whitethroats was about the same figure as in recent days.

Two Little Ringed Plovers were on Aldcliffe Marsh as were ten Canadas and a Pinkfoot.

Five White Wagtails were at the flood as was.... not a lot else. There are quite a few sheep and lambs in this field now and I think their feet and bladders denude the habitat for waders and wildfowl.

Any spring day without Wheatears isn't as fun as it could be so I was pleased with eleven in two small flocks. As a gung ho youth I might have called them Greenlands, but since none of them landed on my weighing scales or yelled out their wingspans in microns, Wheatears it is.

As well as the flava, NE-bound visible migration featured 15 single Meadow Pipits, 20 Siskins (including a nice party of 13), one or two alba wags and the best push of hirundines so far this year.

Swallows dominated, with just shy of 150 picked up (often in tight volleys of 4-6), and there were also 18 Sand Martins & 3 House Martins detected. Not a huge movement, but a pleasant distraction from much hedge-scanning for Whinchats and Redstarts (no and no!) nonetheless.

A Freeman's Pool gull had me scratching my head this morning. A slightly dainty adult Lesser Black-backed type with a noticeably paler mantle-- it wouldn't appear to be a Yellow-legged Gull (slight bill, paired with a standard LBB!)...I'm a dunce when it comes to gulls and it was a little too distant for helpful photos, but I can only assume it has some Herring Gull genes in there somewhere.


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