Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A varied introduction! 4.4.2016.

With the last few days being occupied with little more than reconnaissance visits to various areas I decided that I'd complete a round of visits to some of the areas nearby to home.  Typical Spring weather looked good to go too.

In time honoured fashion the first location was a sewage farm on the very eastern boundary of my "new area". I'd already been here in late March to try and see the Firecrest which had been around for some time, but today, as then, was unsuccessful signalling that perhaps the bird had finally moved on.  Several Chiffchaffs were in song, Green Woodpecker loudly moving about the area, Bullfinch and a Mallard pair with 13 young on a nearby flooded area were the highlights with even the sewage beds being devoid of wagtails. What was a real joy, for me, was the absolute body of song coming from the general locality......Song Thrush, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Robin, Great Tit and Wren contrasted to recent years where fewer such birds were around within Islay's woodlands and the wind generally swept away the effects anyway.

Visits to a couple more blocks of woodland provided a similar array of species with Chiffchaffs again being in evidence.  A local water body ( Gunthwaite Dam ) held Little Grebe, Coot and Canada Geese and a couple more Chiffchaff. On the approach, via Gadding Moor, a couple of Skylark sang,  a species I've already noticed appears to be in much reduced numbers to previously. Onwards to Scout Dike Reservoir with a fine circular footpath in evidence with accompanying walkers, infants and Labradors, a contrast to what used to be a muddy slog around the more western part of its boundary. Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, plenty of Coot, Tufted Duck and a single Common Sandpiper were of note, plus at least four more Chiffchaffs!.  The most amusing episode was a Willow Warbler entering into song, but occasionally not quite getting the cadence right.  I suspect it was an overnight arrival tuning up after its long journey!  

Ingbirchworth Reservoir had its own Chiffchaffs (2), Oystercatcher, Canada Geese, Tufted Duck, Mallard and Coot but little else. A small group of hirundines, 3 Swallows and possibly 2 Sand Martin, moved off as I arrived but no others followed in the time I spent having a sandwich and wishing for migrants!

A sweep through various adjacent areas produced no Northern Wheatear as I'd expected and, despite the sunny conditions, there was yet a reminder that this was still only early April.  A call to Royd Moor Reservoir completed the day and provided a fine pair of Goldeneye, Tufted Duck, Yellowhammer, around thirty Fieldfare which moved off north east, and, of course, a couple of Chiffchaff and another Willow Warbler. Not a bad intro., and a day that brought back many fond memories too.