Saturday, 12 May 2018

Last and first.

it is not unusual for winter and summer visitors to overlap. but not this year in the valley.
The wintering little grebes left at the beginning of march and were outstayed by the 3 water rail at the wetland which stayed until mid march.
the frozen fields were deserted by winter thrushes which presumably went further south and west. A handful of redwing on 28 march at the wetland seem to have been the last.
So with thanks to Angus, Gareth,Geoff and Kevin I will try and summarise our summer visitors many of which were just passing through. In general birds were between 7 and 19 days late at the start but generally have caught up since, which reflects t6he weather.
first on the patch was a silent chiffchaff on the 27 march but it was only on 30th that songsters were heard.
3rd of april saw the first three swallows at pool hall and 4th bought the first wheatear at the racecourse and a blackcap mumbling at the orchard at aldersley junction. the 4th also saw the first willow warbler by the station but again silent. it was not until the 14th that 4 were heard but all seem to have been passage birds.
First house martins were two amongst 20plus sand martins at pool hall but they did not appear around their street nesting areas until the 26th and only yesterday showed interest in nesting with the bulk of birds still to arrive. swifts are expected any day now.
A lesser whitethroat sang by the station on the 16th (and 25th) and first common whitethroat was the lupin field on the 19th. the lesser have gone but commons have set up 2 territories on barleyfield .
Also on passage were common sandpipers at wightwick fields on 20th and the canal at newbridge on the 26th.
the only garden warbler was a songster by lock 17 on 11th of may and I think the only redstart was a brief bird at Compton lock today.
Resident birds are also running a bit late but the first mallard brood appeared on 23 april and the first moorhens today at Compton lock. Of note is an increase in the local jay population.
two scarceties have been a red kite at wightwick on 30 march and a calling woodlark over racecourse on 16 april.