Monday, 23 March 2009

Chiffin' time

Finally some proper migrants on the books - a half dozen Chiffchaffs. Otherwise it was a very quiet weekend with only a couple of Shelduck, four Oystercatcher, two Redshank, a Green Sandpiper, 5 Fieldfare, 2 Redwing, and an exceptional spring flock of 130 Linnet.

Saturday 21st March

A very fine spring day indeed, but less fine for seeing birdies. Too warm for birding... haha! never happy with the weather unless it's awful. Around Harpham, 1 Little Grebe, 1 Kestrel, 25 Lapwing, 4 Herring Gulls north, 1 drumming GS Woodpecker, 1 Grey Wagtail, 5 or 6 different singing Chiffchaff, 2 Bullfinch, 4 Tree Sparrow and 30 House Sparrow.

Apart from the chiffies the other main sign of the arriving summer were the two Small Tortoiseshell and a single Peacock butterfly.

Just before getting back for lunch we had a brief glimpse of a Water Vole.

In the afternoon I did the Gembling and Brigham Quarry tour on the bike. Again very quiet but 4 Teal, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Buzzard at Gembling. Some standing water still remains here, hopefully through the whole spring when it could be quite an attraction for passage waders, wagtails and maybe just the odd tern or Little Gull.

Down at Brigham Quarry - 12 Teal (on nearby drain), 8 Pochard, 6 Tufted Duck, 8 Little Grebe, 12 Coot, and a pair of Oystercatcher. Perhaps the most interesting sight of the afternoon was the flock of 130 Linnet near Gembling school - a huge local count for springtime.

More generous daylight hours allowed me to take an hour around Green Lane where there was 12 Lapwing, 2 Snipe, 1 Redshank, 1 Green Sandpiper, 8 Stock Dove and a Barn Owl out hunting at dusk. On the walk to the pub later two Tawny Owls were hooting in the distance.

Sunday 22nd March

Morning was spent down Kelk Beck / Cattleholmes where there were 3 Mute Swan, 2 Greylags, 2 Canada Goose, 2 Teal, c60 Mallard, Little Grebe, Kestrel, 29 Lapwing, 5 Snipe, 3 Meadow Pipit and 1 Tree Sparrow.

It is remarkable how drier the ground is compared to a month ago - not just dry under foot but a lot of the flood patches have receeded rapidly. The main pool opposite Lynesykes looks like it will persist through spring but it will be the last to go.

I had a wander around Green Lane / Gransmoor Lane / Barf Hill area in the afternoon and it was moderately productive. Two Buzzards were over Kelk Lake along with a mobbing Sparrowhawk. Elsewhere - 2 Shelduck, 6 Teal, 12 Mallard, 9 Greylags, 3 Grey partridge, 1 Kestrel, 2 Oystercatcher, 31 Lapwing, another Redshank, 5 Fieldfare, 2 Redwing, 1 Chiffchaff (in Barf Hill wood), and 9 Yellowhammer.

A total of 26 Hares were counted, plus another Small Tortoiseshell, and a Roe Deer.

Finally, a quick spin to Kelk Lake - pair of Mute Swan, pair of Canada Goose (same as Cattleholmes pair?), 1 male Pochard, 9 Tufted Duck, 1 Little Grebe, 10 Coot, and a Buzzard sat in a tree at the edge of the wood giving ace views!

All in all not a classic weekend but it's hard to resist teasing quality of springtime. A measly three additions to the year list - now 80. Bring it on!

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

No news is good news

I have nothing springy to report yet, though a Tawny Owl was seen sitting in the hedge near Kelk Lake last night.

Hoping to fit in my March visit this weekend and it's looking like the first migrants have just started to trickle in to the region. Migrants don't tend to arrive in the Kelk area especially early but there has been mid-March Chiffchaff and Sand Martin on the 20-something-th (will have to check).

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

March-ing forward

Yet another skein of Pink-feet not seen by me... our kid saw c50 flying north on Sunday.

The Egyptian Geese have been twitched by a few birders, and were seen on both Saturday and Monday. There's even a picture on HVWG - (scroll down to 25th)