Friday, 21 April 2017

Early thoughts on migration

The current spells of high pressure and northerly winds have led to a subdued spring migration thus far.
Chiffchaff, traditionally the first arrival and true to form this year with all birds seeming to arrive in one go in the 3rd week of March. Nine singers in middle and north sections and nesting now well underway.
Blackcap, always interesting to see the gap between departing winter birds heading for central Europe and spring arrivals from Iberia and North Africa. We had 1 or 2 males giving a desultory song in the 3rd week of March and I had a female in my garden on the with. Also was on the south coast of Devon for the last weekend of March and had about 10 songstress on the coast. None were visible and the contrast with the arrivals from the 3rd of April, full song and showing well was stark. 8 in the middle and 8 in the north on that day with females appearing around 5 days later. Much contact calling now  in evidence and numbers swelled by further arrivals this week. I wonder if the Devon birds had spent the winter on the coast or were preparing to cross the channel.
Willow warbler, thin on the ground in the valley with 1 or 2 birds for the last 10 days either end of the paddocks probably passing through and a contrast to good numbers on Cannock Chase.
Swallow passage birds on one or two days (max3) and returning pair to racecourse last Sunday.
Sand Martin 2 flew south also last Sunday.
Wheatear .Also the same day 2 on racecourse a male which was ringed (by a licensed ringer) and found to be a Greenland bird by wing measurement accompanied by a female, 2 having been seen on the 14th.
The southern section has given Angus both lesser and common whitethroat but they don't seem to have reached the rest of the valley.
In terms of resident birds the first brood of Mallard today 11 at the water bridge.
Grey wagtail around dunstall park (could they be the pair which were regular at lock 21 before moving through disturbance) and around prefab weir.
A kingfisher carrying material in its beak was only the second report of the year.
A singing reed Bunning was a one day wonder on the 3rd April also single red poll and siskin in the 2nd week all 3 presumably on passage.
Finally twice in the last week 2 herons flying north over the paddocks early doors, a spcies we seem to see far less often these days.