You can tell that things are picking up as I'm doing a mid month update. There has been a noticable change in bird activity with things starting to pass through after a relatively static period up until the end of February. With the first migrants now starting to appear it's getting to an exciting time of year!
Starting with gulling, we've had a really purple patch with some great roosts. We've had good numbers of Caspian Gulls of various ages pass through. Below are some photos of some of them.
|...and adult Caspian. All courtesy of Thomas Miller|
We have also been blessed with some regular sightings of one or sometimes two Mediterranean Gulls in the roost. One evening there was even some attempted courting going on.
|The two Mediterranean Gulls courtesy of Steve Lavington|
Apart from that there have been good numbers of Yellow-legged Gulls most evenings. On recent visits, there is a definite sense that the roost is now starting to wind down as we move into the second half of the month.
As the gulling winds down so wader action is picking up. The first migrants have started to appear with a Ringed Plover and a Little Ringed Plover both having been seen. In addition we've had up to 7 Redshank and up to 4 Dunlin as well as regular visits from a pair of Oystercatchers. As we move into spring proper we can expect the wader passage to kick off properly.
There's not been much to report on the duck and geese front. It's been pretty much the same birds as usual. We were visited by a pair of White-fronted Geese on a couple of occasions. As I've said before here, due to the presence of the Blenheim hybrid birds, it's hard to tell the authenticity of bird on the Meadow though these ones appeared to look OK . We already have this species on the year list from the start of the year so it doesn't make much difference either way.
At least one of the Siberian Chiffchaff has been around in the allotment hedge still though sightings are starting to taper off now. The Stonechats were seen once more at the start of the month but have not been seen since.
One cause for concern was the state of the floods. With February having been the driest on record (yet another weather record being set as climate change continues to bite) the floods were looking decidedly thin. Thankfully the recent wetter weather has helped a bit though we do still really need some prolonged decent rain during these next few weeks for the critical spring passage period.
Looking ahead, we can start expecting more spring wader passage and also the first Sand Martins though so far there has only been a smattering of sightings in the county so it's early days yet. It's also time to look out for Garganey - last year was really good for this charming duck. We're coming up to the most exciting birding time of the year on the Patch so it's time to get out there!