Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Few Additions

Wren - Still singing away!
Having spent the early part of the week meticulously going through the thousand or so images of my recent trip to Spain, I decided that this weekend my attention should return to our very own Spring migration. Having said that I did manage a few early morning midweek trips to Brandon Marsh, which produced White Wagtail, Reed Warbler and Common Sandpiper.

Before my trip to Spain some migrants had been arriving in large numbers, such as Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Blackcap. However, for other species the arrival locally has been very poor and upon my return the trend seemed to be continuing. For the time of year many of our summer visitors are worryingly absent. There are very few Swallows and Sand Martins around. Whitethroats and Sedge Warblers are also conspicuous by their absence. This is probably down to southern Europe recently experiencing poor weather. Southern Spain and Portugal have had hailstorms, in fact it did hail during my stay, heavy rain and cool northerly winds have also been a factor.

One Of Several Yellowhammer @ Napton
Saturday morning was spent with Jim Rushforth checking out the woodland and pool areas at Brandon Marsh in the hope that a few Common Whitethroats and Sedge Warbler had dropped in. Jim had in fact had his first Common Tern on East Marsh Pool on the Friday and so we were hopeful of more to follow. At one stage near the Olive Seat bench, which overlooks the Newlands reed bed, I was positive I'd heard a Cuckoo call but dismissed it after nothing further was heard. Despite a few reports from other regulars of Whitethroats neither Jim, Martin Durkin, who'd now joined us, or I managed to connect. The morning did produce 2 Little-ringed Plover, all three Hirundines, and the Redshank and Oystercatcher now seem well established, the midweek Reed Warbler was also still singing away within the Goose Pool reed bed.

Distant Record ♂Common Redstart
Today was a much better day all-round! With clear skies overnight there seemed a lot more around at Brandon Marsh Swallow, House and Sand Martin were all in good numbers and it wasn't long before I'd finally recorded my first Common Whitethroats of the year. ♂♀Muntjac Deer were a pleasant sight on the bank at Sheep Field and It probably looks like I did in fact hear a Cuckoo yesterday after all. The first arrival of the year was first heard calling from the Central Marsh, later seen flying off towards New Hare Covert.

Shortly after returning to the marina a nice surprise came when a phone call from Richard Mays alerted me to a ♂Common Redstart showing well at Napton Reservoir. Only minutes away it wasn't long before I had the bird in my sights on an adjacent field, sadly way too far for any distant images! During my half hour or so stay I further recorded of note: 2 Orange Tip Butterfly, 8 Yellowhammer, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Raven overhead and a Curlew, heard but not seen!