Friday, 6 May 2016

What A DIfference A Day Makes

I spent four hours rummaging around on the patch this morning, covering just about every key area.
To be honest I wasn't too impressed initially, there seemed to be a serious lack of newly arrived migrants and there was no evidence of visible migration at all.

Common toad - Freeman's Wood
The first sign that things had changed slightly came in the form of a couple of common whitethroat that were singing at one another near Darter Pool.

This theme continued throughout the morning, implying a major arrival of the long-distance travellers. There seemed to whitethroats in every hedge and small tree; I even found one lurking incongruously in the tideline debris near the Channel.
By contrast, I only saw or heard around 5 lesser whitethroat between Freeman's Wood and Stodday ETW.

A grasshopper warbler was reluctantly reeling from an area of dense vegetation in the cutting just to the south of the Aldcliffe Marsh metal sheep access gate by Cadaver Corner.

A pair of peregrines were over Colloway Marsh and the only other notable birds on or around the river included 7 eider, 2 goosander and a whimbrel plus the usual multiple little egrets.

On the Flood a pair of little ringed plover were in residence while another two were with a small flock of dunlin on Aldcliffe Marsh.

Female whinchat
As I walked back along the seawall I came across the first evidence of passage migrants all morning (there weren't even any hirundines on the move).
A couple of wheatear were feeding with a pair of whinchat along the tideline. They always kept their distance, the male whinchat in particular remaining just too away far to get a pic.
A check around the upper ponds at Freeman's Pools revealed an apparent influx of sedge warblers with at least 4 singing away in close proximity.

Other stuff of note seen included 2 pairs of grey partridge, 3 gadwall, lots of blackcaps, chiffchaffs, a few willow warblers, linnets, 3 stock doves, and sparrowhawk. And while I don't normally take much notice of pheasants, I couldn't help but be struck by this rather fine male in a field of dandelions. Sorry about that...

* In other news; Aldcliffe regular Jane McVickers had great views of a short-eared owl by Freeman's Pools on evening earlier in the week. 



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