Monday, 20 April 2015

The White Stuff

A very pleasant couple of hours in the morning sunshine today was certainly good for the soul, even if the birding was, on the whole, a bit dull.
It started out rather encouragingly with what appeared to be a significant influx of blackcaps - birds were singing all over the shop. Freeman's Wood was positively hopping with them and both males and females were seen in good numbers. The now-familiar strains of willow warbler and chiffchaff also filled the air but I couldn't detect anything 'new'.
I checked the pools for garganey (ever hopeful) but drew a blank. Even yesterday's drake goosander had moved on. On the plus side two pairs of gadwall remain along with a little ringed plover...
The migrant-friendly perimeter hedges were bereft of anything notable and there weren't even any hirundines over the water.
The Lune was almost birdless although there were still 4 lingering pink-footed geese on Aldcliffe Marsh.

Checking the stubble fields I came across a couple of wheatear, 2 stock dove and the flock of 50-60 linnet. There are plenty of sitting lapwing but no sign of any early young yet - the fields haven't yet been ploughed but I'm sure it's just a matter of days before the egg-smashing machinery arrives on site.
Four more little ringed plover were on the Flood.
Another wheatear was on the tideline by Walled Meadow.
A couple of high-drifting buzzards had me hopeful for the briefest of moments and a grand total of 3 northbound swallows further emphasized the lack of overall movement.

Just as I'd given up hope of seeing anything 'new' I heard the soft mutterings of a whitethroat in subsong, and after a minute or two of hedge-scanning I found the culprit. It was soon followed by another, barely 50 metres along in the same hedgerow. Nice!


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