1st April

Despite the blog post date there will be no foolery in these dark days. Still I hope that giving people the opportunity to read about the nature on Port Meadow might offer a welcome respite from the torrent of bad news all around us at present. As I'm fortunate enough to live a few minutes walk from the Meadow my daily exercise routine has involved a walk out to the Meadow with my bins so I've been able to carry on checking out what's about.

A little over a week or so ago things all suddenly kicked off on the Meadow. Thomas and I arrived at about the same time to find a flock of half a dozen or so SAND MARTINS hawking low over the water by Burgess Field Gate. Scanning the floods soon turned up a couple of LITTLE RINGED PLOVER and since then we've had three more birds making 5 in total so far this season. There have been one or two more Sand Martin reports but that's been about it.

A Little Ringed Plover
On the wader front things have stepped up a gear. We've had up to 15 BLACK-TAILED GODWITS on the flood initially thought the numbers dropped to around 5 a day for much of last week before tailing off to just a couple today. In addition there have been two or three REDSHANK most days as well as a few SNIPE skulking around along the muddy west shore. There's usually been one or two pairs of OYSTERCATCHERS about as well, We've also been blessed with a nice flock of GOLDEN PLOVER which has been with us for a while now. A peak count was around 350 though it's presently about half this number.

Some rather distant Black-tailed Godwits
On the duck front we've had varying numbers of SHELDUCK with us for some time now, peaking at around 6 birds though last night it was just a couple. There's also been a lingering pair of PINTAIL in amongst the other ducks and we're getting the usual spring gathering of GADWALL with up to a dozen birds on the floods, looking very smart in their spring plumage. There are still decent numbers of Widgeon and Teal around though these will start to drop over the coming weeks.

A pair of Shelduck
The BARN OWL is still being seen occasionally - let's hope it sticks around a bit longer. In terms of warblers it's still rather early. There have been the usual singing Chiffchaffs and I heard my first singing Blackcap a day or two ago but these may well just be overwintering birds starting to move into spring mode. In the next couple of weeks we should expect the first Willow Warblers to arrive soon followed by the other usual visitors, with the Whitethroats usually the last to reach us. It's well worth listening out for a Cuckoo in April and keep your eyes to the skies for a possible passing Osprey - they often seem to pass the Meadow late morning for some reason. It's an exciting time of year despite the doom and gloom all around us.

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