Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Signs of Spring

29th February - although it was a cold start to the day, once the sun was up, it became very pleasant.  There was plenty of bird song around the patch and I also saw my first two butterflies of the year, a Small Tortoiseshell and a Peacock.  Both of these species over winter as adults so are always seen before the emergent species:

Chiffchaffs were around in some numbers, some singing and a lot of fly catching.  I counted 8 in total, 7 around the lake and 1 at Emmett's fields.  I assume that these must have been here all Winter, though there may have been some local movement as the first continental birds will be arriving in a couple of weeks.

The cold start also brought the Snipe out of hiding as 16 were either feeding or sunning themselves at the base of the spit.  Last week's Water Rail was seen again feeding in the small stream that runs through the eastern paddock, but now there were two and I watched them chasing each other around for a while before going their separate ways.  I got a slightly better shot of one, though I am still digiscoping through over hanging shrubs,, so an obscured shot:

On the northern side, a vocal Ring-necked Parakeet was helping himself to leaf buds on one of the remaining poplars.

One pair of Shelduck have departed us, leaving a single pair.  At Emmett's, last week's large finch flock was nowhere to be seen, just small numbers of Chaffinches and a single Yellowhammer.  A flock of about 100 Golden Plover flew in from the north calling and then carried on to the west.

Not long now until the first summer migrants start trickling through and hopefully some interesting winter migrants on their way out together, with some waders on their way northwards.

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