Saturday, July 27, 2013

General birding.....great, and misty mornings!

I'm fed up with misty mornings, sometimes extending into misty days!  Most times they clear after you've made a commitment to do other things and the day is then lost.  The bonus, I suppose, is the sunlit afternoons which, of late, have ensured a wonderful show of butterflies ( Green-veined Whites, Meadow Browns, Ringlets, Small Tortoiseshells and a few Common Blues in favoured areas ).

Following a period when my youngest daughters have been here ( for the record, and to avoid comment (!), now young ladies ),  I'm now returned to my more normal schedule of conservation involvements ( potential disturbance work to Golden Eagle roost sites, turbine developments and Bird-strike Plans at the airport! ) and to birding, except for the intervention of misty mornings!!

Setting aside this morning's misty beginnings, the day has not been utterly wasted as it's enabled me, in its latter part, to complete a routine wandering around the local area. To some great extent the grass moor is now silent. The Curlews and Lapwings have moved off and the foraging gulls have disappeared. Local Hooded Crows, with a combined "output" of 14 young from three pairs, are still in evidence and doubtless have played a major part in the poor productivity and success of the local waders. Gone too are the Northern Wheatears,  whose first efforts coincided with poor weather which saw them then move away very early. Birds now seen can be confidently viewed as migrants moving through. The adult Cuckoos too are long gone, but their regular presence previously possibly bodes well and the likelihood of seeing a youngster not yet departed is still high.

Meadow Pipits this year appear to have done well and Reed Buntings and Sedge Warblers are both feeding young nearby to the house. Whilst Stonechats appeared to have succeeded with first broods, numbers now appear to be quite low, so only time will tell in terms of what the overall situation  actually is.  Swallows have fared poorly, in fact the local birds never returned to my barn, which is the first time in several years. Autumn is now already upon us with Willow Warblers flicking through, but in low numbers, which perhaps suggests early breeding attempts met with mixed success. As ever, the year appears to be as much a mixture of success and failure as any other and reiterates anew the influences our wildlife is open to and the challenges encountered.

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