Wednesday, 1 June 2016

end of may review

I have been back for over a week but still wish I was in the wilds of assynt and the far north west.
First reaction when I headed into the paddocks was to be overwhelmed by the greenery. More surprisingly I was taken aback by the amount of birdsong, by far the loudest of the year. When I caught up with Geoff he had noted the same dramatic but short lived cacophony.  We speculated as it was the third week of may perhaps the late april/early may cold snap had caused many nests to fail and the noise reflected a resurgence of interest in breeding.
Blackbirds were the dominant species closely followed by song thrush also 11 chiffchaff singing.
the amount of song has settled down now but still plenty of blackcap, song thrush and a resurgence of dunnock.  The lack of any passerine young birds would seem to support the theory.
There is also a contrast between the ornithological desert formerly known as the barleyfield and the rest of the valley although the lupin field is also disappointing.
This is most notable for whitethroats which are quite numerous in the surrounding area and 4/5 were singing on turners and sand fields-see map, also a willow warbler sang there repeatedly-all on Saturday.
A treecreeper was a nice find at the metal bridge on sunday where a kingfisher has been occasional. A female grey wagtail fed on the tow path at the spill weirs yesterday and flew off low towards Compton lock and in the paddocks a fully independent juvenile blackbird showed that some early breeding succeeded and a little ringed plover flew fast overhead towards the wetland but was not relocated.