Thursday, April 7, 2016

Migrants on the move! 6.4.2016.

Off early and whilst the weather was fine, bright, but somewhat blustery, looking westwards showed some rather heavy dark cloud in evidence. Nonetheless another attempt to locate Ring Ousel failed and around 0900 hours I parked up at Winscar Reservoir, had some breakfast and hoped for the odd raptor. It was very quiet so I eventually moved off to check Bowshaw Whams Reservoir.......and then things changed!! The wind picked up to F6, the car rocked and the sleet was horizontal. Visibility plummeted, the car was coated in snow on one side and I thought "this is not what was supposed to happen ! ". Eventually it cleared through and revealed a couple of Teal, Great crested Grebe and odd Mallard........Spring was obviously appearing only slowly hereabouts.

Gradually moving onto lower ground I toured around Whitley Common yet again. The last four days had produced very little so I wasn't hopeful. One field had a reasonable group of feeding Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails ( no "Whites" ). Lapwing numbers were certainly higher, good news in itself.  I moved on to overlook the model aircraft "flying facility"!!!   I objected to the location of this many years ago,  plumped as it was going to be in an area of extensive in-bye land , very wet in places , that carried breeding Common Snipe, Redshank and Mallard and in one autumn had a roost of Short-eared Owl.  It went ahead , of course, and now juncus ridden areas and in-bye are a scarce resource showing the predictive qualities of planners are next to useless.  For once I was caused to eat my prejudice ( am I mellowing ? ) as there were obviously birds feeding on the carefully cut grass square.  The Northern Wheatears I'd sought out over past days were certainly present,  possibly forced down by the winds which had developed overnight and which were now gusting at F5/6.  Several counts eventually produced a total of 21 , all of which appeared to be males. They were very mobile and, around 1130 hours, began to disperse into adjacent fields. Not a bad haul even for a model aircraft field !!!

On to Ingbirchworth Reservoir where I  decided to sit things out for a while and see if any hapless migrants were battling against the strong headwinds.  Other than a female Goldeneye little appeared to be new. However, the next hour saw almost 60 Swallow and 11 Sand Martin move NW , sometimes taking a short time out to feed as they crossed the water before moving on over higher ground. Things then subsided quite abruptly. I checked a couple of other sites but nothing appeared to have changed so I decided to concede and do a supermarket shop!