/ UKC Springwatch (Mk II)
leaving unanswered questions.
Would the wheatears venture up Llanberis Pass? Have the hoopoes in France dried out? Has cb294 been eaten by a wolf? Find out all this and more in the shiny new Springwatch thread.
Sunday 14th April - heard my first willow warblers of the year and saw a stoat travelling very, very fast. I love stoats.
Tuesday 16th April - wheatears on the moors around Redmires reservoir (Sheffield) as well as lots of curlews and lapwings
Wednesday 17th April - first swallow! Actually about 40 of them. One minute there are no swallows to be seen and suddenly the sky is thick with their swooping flight and excited chatter. (It gave me goosebumps actually, but don't tell anyone that because it makes me sound like a right geek.)
On Tuesday 16th I saw two Red Kites just off the A1 near Stamford.
The strong SW winds that we've had over the past few days seem to have finally helped move the last of the geese along. There were still fields full of pink feet and greylag (admittedly we're getting more Greylag staying year round now) last weekend but they seem to have buggered off now.
There was an (alleged) gobshite on the Highland and Moray birds forum claiming there were loads of swallows along the coast but I'm calling BS at the moment. I think it's still a bit early for them up here and I was on the same stretch last weekend and saw nowt. Although I'll accept that proves sod all!
They're well and truly sunburned after the last week, but probably a bit damp again today.
Have heard them calling up the hill from the house now - which means I really should attempt to build a Hoopoe nest box for them - Just need to find time.
Not much more news of new arrivals on the bird front apart from Red-backed Shrikes.
We do have Blackbird, Wren, Redstart, Collared Dove and sparrows nesting around our garden & barn, and we spotted that the White Stork was sitting on its old nest from last year on top of an electricity pylon next to the Garonne river.
Flowers have gone mental now and it's getting to the point where there are too many for me to spend time identifying. Very little time for photography at the moment, so just snapshotting with the phone for later identification.
ps. Have you ever seen a stoat travelling slowly? I haven't, though I have seen Weasels in less of a rush.
A lot of birds are late breeding this year. We have 3 goshawk pairs on one of our sites and they are only just getting down to business now, they are 5 weeks late.
A friend of mine was ringing ravens at the weekend in Glen Turret. They are apparently already 1.2kg in weight, which seems huge for a flightless chick at this time of year.
Glad to hear the hoopoes survived their drenching! Flower-wise it's been a slow start here but my orchid hunting season will begin in the next week or so with early purples. Found some lovely scarlet elf cap fungus (Sarcoscypha coccinea) this week though.
Well done Alyson for this thread!
Swallows are on the increase around Mid Wales now. Reports of House and Sand martin too.
I saw Chifchaff, Willo Warbler and Whitethroat and loads of Wheatears and White Wagtails whilst on a Hoopoe twitch, unsuccessfull though!
The local Male Osprey is back, waiting for his misses but she is very late!
Also reports from Ynys Hir of Redstart and Pied Flycatchers!
Spring has sprung! :)
We've got one shy hoopoe - haven't caught a glimpse of him again!
I have not been eaten yet, wolves are connaisseurs...
Spring has started though, swallows are back since Wednesday. Current breeders around the house are blue, coal, great, and crested tits, greater spotted woodpecker, blackbirds, and redstarts. Blackcaps are also around, but I havenīt found the nest yet.
I'm rubbish at birds but I'll contribute in other ways, if that's ok. I finally got out on a Sunny day and was rewarded with several butterflies, a comma, a peacock and a red admiral. Small tortoiseshell are eluding me. I saw a mink yesterday, although I know it's not really an indicator of Spring, but it always interesting. It's been duly reported to Surrey wildlife trust.
Last week I was watching a pair of Kingfishers and I went back to check the early purple's progress, there's a flower spike emerging. So all in all it's been an excellent week so far.
Alyson, nothing wrong with being excited, I'm like a small child in Spring and Summer;-)
> I have not been eaten yet
I knew this thread would provide the answers! :)
Just had species number 24 added to my garden list. Looks like we have some Curlew that have just moved into the field next door :-)
Had to eat my hat after I said the geese had all moved on. A skein of about 50 Pink Feet flew overhead about a minute after I finished that post. Gits!
The feeder is hoaching with greenfinch, siskin, goldfinch and chaffinch at the moment. The cat is sparked out by the patio doors, blissfully unaware of about 20 chattering birds in the garden not 2 metres away from him!
We also saw loads of butterflies, good evidence that the weather is finally getting warmer.
> A friend of mine was ringing ravens at the weekend in Glen Turret.
Did he get an answer or did it go straight to voice mail?
glimpsed a Chif Chaf and have some dropping bellow the martins nest but not seen a martin yet?
Lots of Moth Pupa in the under growth this year and not many slugs as yet... not sure what that spells for my veggies.
I am in Wirral bty.
Now this may seem daft but I am convinced I saw a female redstart on the Ceredigion coast back on March 22nd, when it was still baltic.
Swallows, yesterday! Millions of them!! :)
Red throated diver
black throated diver
lecking black grouse
2 days near avimore and more
Nice to see swallows and sand martins back too,, and bugs for them to eat
Tim, could it have been a female Black Redstart? Quite a few winter in Aber! Yet to find them breeding! Quite a few have been seen along the coastal path!
5 x red squirrels (3 in Glen Feshie, 2 in Anagach Woods, Grantown-on-Spey).
3 x osprey (2 at Loch Garten, 1 somewhere else...)
> Red throated diver
> black throated diver
> slavonian grebe
> lecking black grouse
> snow bunting
> ring ouzel
> scottish crossbill
> crested tit
> 2 days near avimore and more
I think I hate you :)
This weekend I went out looking for sand martins. What I got was:
- sedge warblers
- reed warbler
- cetti's warbler (heard only)
- 2 avocets
- common tern
- little egret
- grass snake
- water vole
- bank vole
- peacock, brimstone and comma butterflies...
...and no sand martins.
No idea how I could have forgotten to mention that the sound of Nightingales is back in the hedgerows & copses here :)
> This weekend I went out looking for sand martins. What I got was:
Co-incidentally, I do some sand dune running near where I live and on Friday was "mobbed" by about 20/30 sand martins who must have just arrived back as they were not there on Thurs. I gotta say it really made my day - it felt like summer was just around the corner.
Next weekend I'm going to look for sand martins (again), redstarts and maybe pied flycatchers.
If you did not already know a good spot for early purple's is above castle Inn quarry in north Wales. Get a route in too :-)
> Next weekend I'm going to look for sand martins (again), redstarts and maybe pied flycatchers.
Get down to East Anglia, usually a good place, particularly Minsmere!
Sand martin update: last night I saw sand martins, house martins and loads of swallows over the River Don in Sheffield city centre (near the Spider Bridge, if anyone's interested). And grey wagtails. There's something quite differently satisfying about urban wildlife, and it was lovely to be able to walk for 15 minutes after work and stand under a skyful of noisy hirundines.
> No idea how I could have forgotten to mention that the sound of Nightingales is back in the hedgerows & copses here :)
Jealous... They havenīt arrived here yet. Lesser Whitethroat started singing in the garden this morning, and a Common Redstart is inspecting a nest box next to our bedroom window.
> Tim, could it have been a female Black Redstart?
Could easily have been - all I saw was the distinctive reddish rear / tail on a brown robin sized bird flying into the thicket. Redstart of one variety or another!
> Tuesday 16th April - wheatears on the moors around Redmires reservoir (Sheffield) as well as lots of curlews and lapwings
> Wednesday 17th April - first swallow! Actually about 40 of them. One minute there are no swallows to be seen and suddenly the sky is thick with their swooping flight and excited chatter. (It gave me goosebumps actually, but don't tell anyone that because it makes me sound like a right geek.)
Red squirels in the Loire valley, plus toooo many stock Dove's.
OOPS I abandoned the last thread - sorry!
I can report that the wheatears have arrived in force in the Pass. Several pairs and singles all of the way up to the Cromlech (where I turned around on my run). In addition there were dippers and grey wagtails in the river, and the lower fields had willow warblers and chiffchaffs.
The only expected migrant that I haven't seen in the Pass is an ouzel, but I haven't been high enough yet to find them.
April/May/June I can feel almost paralyzed with indecision about where to go and what to look for. They're such wonderful months and I want to fit everything in! Nesting seabirds, returning ospreys, swathes of pyramidal orchids, wooded valleys for pied flycatchers, lowland heath for nightjars (they still elude me), sunny ring ouzel/raven days in the mountains, emerging water voles, basking adders, blue tits finding daft places to nest.... I could go on and on. And that's before we start on everything else I'd like to fit in, such as climbing and kayaking and mountain biking and camping and, you know, eating. Stuff like that.
> lowland heath for nightjars (they still elude me)
I've decided that this is my year to see, or hear, a Nightjar.
Saw my first bluebell in flower today, just the one. The primroses and cowslips in full bloom for about the last week or two.
Bluebells? Our snowdrops are only just fading! Some of the frozen frogspawn looks as if it might yet be viable, although there's plenty of new since the thaw.
However, sparrows and great tits are making up for lost time, house martins and swallows have arrived, curlews are calling.
Yes, and I saw even more today, after the hot weather we've been having:-)
Ah, the joys of the South.
Got a life tick (whimbrel - not very thrilling I know) at Spurn headland, then today I saw 3 pied flycatchers (2 male, 1 female) in Padley Gorge near Burbage, and my first redstart of the year at Hay Dale. Lovely!
> Got a life tick (whimbrel - not very thrilling I know) at Spurn headland, then today I saw 3 pied flycatchers (2 male, 1 female) in Padley Gorge near Burbage, and my first redstart of the year at Hay Dale. Lovely!
I heard a cuckoo a couple of days ago. By the way, when you were at Padley Gorge, did you have an ice cream? The ice cream van there is the best!
Finally saw a few Housemartins down by the river on Friday! An Oystercatcher has decided to nest on next doors patio, it's still up for sale at the moment so I'm hoping it'll have a bit of peace for a while yet. One of the local cats tried to get close and I think it quickly realised the big orange beak was going to be too much for it to handle!
Our first Swallow arrived yesterday..........................!
Time for the cats to take cover.
All the sun this week, has worked its magic.
It's working so far! Outward appearances would suggest I'm sitting at my desk, inwardly I'm watching pied flycatchers :)
lowland heath for nightjars (they still elude me),
One of the great things about climbing in the Dorset area is that you can pick up nightjars too :-)
I've been looking at your uploads of the lovely peregrine and raven chicks. So how did you get involved with bird ringing? Are you a volunteer? It's something I'd like to get involved with one day.
Although when I picked a grounded swift up a couple of years ago I found the mites and louse flies crawling over it to be so horrifying I almost dropped the poor little thing.
Having said all that sleeping in my truck last night in the middle of a windfarm so I could get up at 4am to look for black grouse - and not see any, was less than fabulous!
I've been helping with the Peregrines at Beeston castle in Cheshire for over 20years now. originnaly got roped in by the license holder because he knew I was a climber. I don't have a license for the ringing another guy has that. I just do the fetching and carrying of the birds.
We went their last night actually. Bad news - no peregrine eggs :-(
The ravens are doing well though (and have nested away from the Peregrines which has been a problem in previous years).
Have you seen the pic of the Peregrine chick breaking out of the egg on my profile page?
Maybe this year the peregrines are waiting for it to get a bit warmer! Lets hope so. My observations so far are putting most spring events 2-3 weeks later than last year.
Re: black grouse - I have only ever seen them once! Near Skipton. A new sighting is long overdue.
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