Thursday, 30 March 2017

Early Tree Pipit

Today started promising, Black Hole Marsh first thing suggested there had been an arrival of warblers, with three Willow Warblers and two Blackcaps.  This didn't seem to be the case though with other sites showing very little.  In fact after this warbler flurry all I saw of note in the valley today were a House Martin, ten Sand Martins and the lingering Knot and Pintails.

There was surprise for me whilst walking the dog at Bovey Down though mid morning (sadly outside my PWC patch).  Last March I published a post about what I felt were the top five misidentified early spring migrants, you can read it again HERE. But in brief, Ospreys that are white Buzzards, calling Cuckoos that are actually Collared Doves, Willow Warblers that are bright Chiffchaffs, etc. Third on my list was Tree Pipit.... and guess what I saw today - a Tree Pipit!!

I picked it up on call, so never any doubt to the ID.  I heard it call three times before I even saw it, and then I watched it fly low west over the common before it seemed to drop down at the far west end of Bovey Down.  They have bred here in recent years so it may be a returning breeding bird, or possibly just a passing migrant. Wherever it's heading it's my earliest ever in the UK that's for sure.

It's gone lovely and mild out there today, with a nice southerly wind blowing, so the next few days could be interesting... or just frustratingly quiet with nice birds turning up elsewhere. Hopefully it's the former!

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