Thursday, 27 April 2017

Slow Going

I don't think it is just here that spring seems to have stopped for the time being. Although I've not had much time out this week (an hour or so in the field both first thing in the morning and last thing at night) it's clear that it's really quite quiet.  In fact I hadn't had a year tick at all this week (so unusual for the last week in April) until just before 7pm tonight...

Whenever I've been around in the evenings over the past few weeks I've been checking the little pre-roost gathering of up to twenty Pied Wagtails that can usually be found either on Bridge or Colyford Marsh. A White Wagtail would have been nice enough (still not seen one this year) but a pair of Yellow Wagtails on Colyford Marsh this evening were way more exciting!  Hard to beat a spring male Yellow Wag if you ask me - I just love 'em! And a year tick too :-)

Otherwise today has been poor, as was yesterday. Tuesday was a little better though with the increased water level on Black Hole Marsh at dawn offering 16 Dunlin, six Ringed Plover (both notable increases), a Greenshank and a Common Gull, plus five Cattle Egret over north and seven Whimbrel on the Estuary (been this many pretty much all week).  Walking back from the Island Hide I briefly caught sight of a large yellow bunting and crossed everything that it was going to turn out to be a Cirl Bunting...



...It was a Yellowhammer. Still really notable though, I can't recall seeing many/any Yellowhammers on the deck in the river valley. I have had a few fly over, but not perched up in a bush which is promising, it would be great if they started nesting here. It was nice to see a Sedge Warbler quite well too for a change...



At both ends of Tuesday there were at least 200 hirundines feeding low in the valley, by far my biggest gathering this year and no doubt congregating low due to the bitterly cold north wind. They were mostly Sand Martins and Swallows with the odd House Martin mixed in.  It was fascinating watching them during the evening, because when a huge dark cloud came over and the light level dropped instantly, they all flew up and started behaving like a murmuration of Starlings...



I have been keeping an eye on the sea since my Great Skua, but it's been as quiet as the land. I had four Sandwich Terns fishing offshore on Tuesday, a Ringed Plover flew east on Wednesday and today the lingering Common Scoter remains...



I'm actually well impressed with the above photo, as the Scoter is at the very least half a mile out!  

Having moaned in my last post about the lack of sea watching weather this spring, I am literally salivating at the forecast for Saturday evening/Sunday.  I've asked Jess to keep our imminent arrival in there til Monday at least...
 

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