Saturday, 30 April 2016

Last trip of april

Just a brief one. Spent this morning birding before going away to Manchester til Monday. Walked the entirety of blotts pit, hoping for some migrant passerines on the eastern banks, such as wheatear or whinchat. No such luck unfortunately, but a couple of Common Sandpipers on Hackett's lakes made it worthwhile, and there were good numbers of Swift and House Martin about.

On the western side, I finally managed my first Cuckoo of the year, a nice male which sat out on a fenceline for a while, and Alan got me onto my first Gropper for the site, a species i've been after for a while.
I also went round the finger ponds later on with the dog, but didnt add much to the list, although as usual the place was teeming with warblers, particularly Whitethroats. The cuckooflower must have known about my sighting this morning, as it was flowering in abundance, and I found some orange-tip butterfly eggs on some. This and garlic mustard seem to be the favoured foodplants of this species.

Cuckooflower - with orange-tip egg

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Early april birding

I've been out birding every night after work this week, trying to squeeze in a few new birds before I disappear to Portugal for a week.

Monday I was down at Holme Pierrepont, where 3 LRP were noted, and a Redshank, that I had seen on Saturday, and was still knocking about. Otherwise, not much of interest, although a few more Willow Warblers were singing.

Tuesday, I popped down briefly to Clifton Grove to have a look for the Ring Ouzels that had been seen on Branshill, but as usual I couldn't locate any in the time I was there. I then went back to HP for another look round, the LRPs had increased to at least 4 birds, and were showing some territorial behaviour, and the Redshank was still about too. A Lapwing has begun nesting onsite too, lets hope they succeed in raising a brood, as they failed last year.

Yesterday, a Ring-necked Duck was reported at Kilvington, so I decided to have a look after work. The poor light and extremely windy conditions made for difficult viewing, but within a few minutes I had located what I thought to be the bird in question, but it was diving frequently and was hard to place as the choppy water kept obstructing my view. After a while though, it showed pretty well, and I was happy to get a new bird before I went away. Hopefully its the beginning of a productive spring in the county.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Spring rushing in

I had a feeling this weekend would be decent. With some southerly winds forecast and some warmer weather forecast, it surely meant that some migrants would be about. It started well last night with a couple of House Martins in the evening, and then as I went to walk the dog in the rain, there were good numbers of Sand Martins over the rowing course, with a few Swallows and House Martins in there too. Blackcap were also singing in the old Skylarks reserve.

After heading home to drop the hound off and have some lunch with my girlfriend, I headed back down on my bike to seee what else was about on the A52 and blotts pits, maybe some of the Sandwich terns reported the other side of town this morning?

As it happened, there were no terns, but another patch tic, the long awaited Nuthatch, was heard singing in the blotts country club garden whilst I was surveying the heronry. I also noted 2 Grey Partridge on the eastern side of Blotts pit, my first here since 2014. A Willow warbler  was also noted, singing in the scrub nearby. Otherwise, there were a few Little Ringed Plover about, and the swans were getting particularly frisky, and there were also a few butterflies on the wing, Peacocks, Small Torts and Comma.

Patchwork Update: March

Species: 83

Additions this month:10
Ringed Plover, Skylark, Jay, Curlew, Meadow Pipit, Chiffchaff, Grey plover, Stonechat, Sand Martin, Little Ringed Plover

March was pretty good on the patch and I have ended up with a higher points total than before at this stage in the year. Some good additions this month include the 3 patch-ticks in as many weekends - Curlew, Grey Plover and Stonechat. It was also nice to get in some of the 'easier' birds like Jay, Mipit and Skylark. There seems to be more Skylarks than the last couple of years which is encouraging. Some spring additions have been trickling in, and it was nice to squeeze in Little Ringed Plover at the end of the month.
Male Stonechat

From looking through reports and from what I know personally, at least 98 species have been recorded this year on site, though i may have missed a few commoner species that haven't been reported elsewhere. About the only species I'm missing which I would have expected by now are Coal Tit, Tawny Owl and perhaps lesser black-backed gull.

April is the classic month for bulking up the PWC yearlist, so I'm hoping for a decent month. I only added 13 in April in 2014, but in 2015 I added 22 species, and ended on 103 species. That's a target of 20 additions this month, if I'm to match that total. It shouldn't be too difficult, although I will be going away to Portugal from the 8th-15th, so may miss the odd passage bird, but the 'bread and butter' stuff like warblers and commoner waders should be easy. (19 is the taget now, as I got House Martin on the 1st!)