Tuesday, 13 May 2014

May Migrants

I went to bed last night with all the intentions of getting up early for a ringing session on Beer Head, despite the fact there's been very few migrants up here since May begun. 

I woke up at 5am this morning with a headache, glanced out the window to see clear skies and a strong breeze, so stupidly decided to slip back under the covers.  Several hours later I got up, and headed up Beer Head just to see if I had missed anything....I really had!

It was actually very interesting walking around Beer Head, as I've spent all my time up here this spring in one area. And after covering the whole headland I can safely safe I've picked the best spot! The area around the Sheepwalk was obviously sheltered from the wind, and this was where there were at least six Spotted Flies (my first of the year), a Garden Warbler (ditto - quite a spring rarity here), a Whitethroat and two Willow Warblers.  Elsewhere on the headland, a couple of Blackcaps and a fly over Yellow Wagtails were all I saw.  

Although it was too windy for mist netting really, I would certainly have caught at least one Spot Fly I'm sure. Gutted.  At least it has given me some hope for the next week or so as birds are clearly still coming through. A wander around Beer Head yesterday showed absolutely nothing so I was beginning to think that was it for spring 2014. Away from the migrant birds, two of these continue to linger here...

Today has clearly been a good day for migrants as I've just had my first Hobby of the year over the back garden - about time too!  Within the last few days there's been a big increase in Swift numbers, with over 150 in the valley yesterday morning.  A Lesser Whitethroat has also been present in the valley, I've heard it singing from the same hedge on three occasions during the last week.

Wading birds have been really disappointing so far this month, with a handful of Dunlin and a trickle of Whimbrel the best from the Estuary.

I did have a few waders during a sea watch on Saturday morning though, with one Turnstone, two Ringed Plover, two Dunlin and three Whimbrel past.  These, along with five Great Northern Divers, six Manx Shearwaters and a few Kittiwakes meant it was a reasonably enjoyable hour staring at the sea.

And what about the garden I hear you say?? Well, we had a lot of wood to get rid off, but thankfully now it has all gone. And we've pulled up the patio that we uncovered under the decking.  The last photo I posted looked like this...

And today it looks like this...

Hopefully from this weekend onwards there will be lots of obvious progress. Watch this space...

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