Friday, March 23, 2012

Harbingers of spring. 22.3.2012.

Given the nature of the day I spent some time wandering about locally in wonderfully dry and warm conditions. From being the desolate grass moors of winter the area has now taken on some obvious life of its own. Raven and Hooded Crows patrol and feed in areas close by to current and prospective territories and various gulls ( GBBG, LBBG, Herring and Common Gull ) comb the higher and drier areas for food. The past winter's foddering out spots for the local free ranging cattle provide a particular magnet for their endeavours and early morning can see an accumulation of 60/70 birds.

The local flocks of Starling and Fieldfare,  plus the odd Icelandic Redwing, have not been seen in the last couple of days and have either moved off to more productive areas or have commenced their gradual journeys back to their breeding grounds. By contrast , the local Starlings have commenced nest building in the barn ( gaining entry through the never used Chough nesting box! ). His spell of mimicry in the morning included a perfect Oystercatcher call, a species I've only recorded once from the house in the four years I've lived here!! Nearby Lapwing and Curlew are currently spending appreciable amounts of time in display each morning, the populations levels of which of which could be easily confused by the addition of the above Starling's perfect rendition of their calls!!

Very slowly the moor is coming to life and smaller birds, seemingly absent for most of the winter , are now returning. Song Thrush, Meadow Pipit, Skylark and Stonechat are all in evidence and will soon be supplemented by more variety as the more far travelled summer migrants appear, ranging from Northern Wheatear to Cuckoo, Grasshopper Warbler to Whinchat. To their welcome efforts in song will be added the bleating of those true proponents of any Spring, the lambs, the appearance here of which is timed for mid April!