Sunday, 11 May 2014

Back To Basics

After the excitement of Thursday's woodchat shrike we're going to be hard-pressed to make any posts on this site seem all that interesting for some time I expect.
Nonetheless, the show must go on and I had a trawl around Aldcliffe after work today. To be honest, there was a residue of optimism that I may relocate the marvelous midweek Mediterranean migrant but sadly it wasn't to be. Given the weather it's not entirely impossible that the bird may still be around, hunkered down somewhere out of sight, although I do suspect it's rather unlikely now.

Equally, I was also keeping an extra special eye-out for the turtle dove reported by visiting shrike-seekers on Friday. For several years this has been my odds-on favourite for 'next new bird for Aldcliffe'... though I'd started to rethink that choice lately in light of the massive decline this species has suffered in the UK. 

Stuff actually seen today included a smart whimbrel that was feeding alongside a curlew in the fields above the upper path, giving a nice comparison for those who like that sort of thing.
Any lapwing and oystercatcher nests which may have survived the first assault of the maize fields (or consequent second layings) would have been well and truly hammered today as the full plough-treatment was inflicted upon the Darter Pool field. Only a handful of foraging wheatear and a few gulls and jackdaws seemed pleased with the change to the landscape.
The wind was keeping a lot of stuff down, so passerine activity was minimal. House martins, swallows and swifts were much in evidence, whizzing around and feeding at low levels.
One of the little ringed plover nests is still being carefully attended; youngsters should be out and about any day now.


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