/ UKC Springwatch (Mk II)

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Alyson - on 19 Apr 2013
The last thread seems to have been archived

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=543622&v=1#x7276091

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.)
Fredt on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:

On Tuesday 16th I saw two Red Kites just off the A1 near Stamford.
Toby S - on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:

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!
interdit - on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:

> Have the hoopoes in France dried out?

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.
ring ouzel on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson: Yesterday I almost crashed my truck when a bird flew past. I was sure it was a house martin. At a site near Elgin I had lots of wheatears and last Sunday I saw an osprey near my house,. This morning it flew over my car carrying a large fish. They breed in the area so I'll probably see it a lot, it'll make up for the paucity of red kites!

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.
tony on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:

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.
Alyson - on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to interdit: No, I've never seen what you could fairly describe as a slow stoat! :-) This one was flat-out chasing something, though I didn't see what.

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.
Alyson - on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to ring ouzel: I would definitely have you down as UKCer most likely to crash a vehicle at the sight of a possible house martin :)
MattJP - on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:

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! :)
jon on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to interdit:

We've got one shy hoopoe - haven't caught a glimpse of him again!
Alyson - on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to MattJP: I'm following the osprey shenanigans at Bassenthwaite via their flickr photo diary. Two days ago the couple (a new pair of quite young birds) were sitting contentedly on their nest when another osprey came and landed in between them! It flew off quite quickly and hasn't been seen since so they put it down to being a passing bird with a warped sense of humour.
cb294 - on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:

Hi,

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.

CB



waterbaby - on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:

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;-)
Alyson - on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to cb294:
> (In reply to Alyson)
>
> I have not been eaten yet

I knew this thread would provide the answers! :)
Toby S - on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:

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!
gethin_allen on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson: we were walking near Taunton last weekend and saw a grass snake, a toad, a buzzard, a diving beetle and evidence of an otter.

We also saw loads of butterflies, good evidence that the weather is finally getting warmer.
coinneach - on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to tony:
> (In reply to Alyson)
>
> 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?


:-)

Green-Winged Orchid - on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson: swallow, sandmartin, chiffchaff, willow warbler, wheatear all in so far. Once I can see swifts of the back step I'll be satisfied but I will only truly relax when I sit down by my first Early purple orchid.
mux - on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson: Willow Warblers are teasing my cat as we speak.

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.
Green-Winged Orchid - on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to mux: cinnabar moth caterpillars my daughter collected from ragwort on Hutton Roof late last year were flying round my kitchen this morning.
Tim Sparrow on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson: Chiffchaff everywhere in MidWales as of last Sunday. They arrived in a vast horde it seems. Also saw a swallow then, but no more until this morning.
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.
Postmanpat on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:

Swallows, yesterday! Millions of them!! :)
Rock Badger on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:

Red throated diver
black throated diver
slavonian grebe
lecking black grouse
snow bunting
ring ouzel
scottish crossbill
crested tit
osprey
2 days near avimore and more
Rock Badger on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to Rock Badger:

Nice to see swallows and sand martins back too,, and bugs for them to eat
MattJP - on 20 Apr 2013
In reply to Tim Sparrow:

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!
JamesRoddie - on 20 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:

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...)
Alyson - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Rock Badger:
> (In reply to Alyson)
>
> Red throated diver
> black throated diver
> slavonian grebe
> lecking black grouse
> snow bunting
> ring ouzel
> scottish crossbill
> crested tit
> osprey
> 2 days near avimore and more


WOW!

I think I hate you :)

This weekend I went out looking for sand martins. What I got was:

- sedge warblers
- reed warbler
- blackcaps
- 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.
interdit - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to interdit:
> (In reply to Alyson)
>

> Not much more news of new arrivals on the bird front apart from Red-backed Shrikes.

No idea how I could have forgotten to mention that the sound of Nightingales is back in the hedgerows & copses here :)
Padraig on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:
> (In reply to Rock Badger)

>
> 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.
Alyson - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to interdit: Well I hate you too :) I think that's only reasonable. I have to go a long way south to get a chance of a nightingale and so far my hunts have not bourne fruit.

Next weekend I'm going to look for sand martins (again), redstarts and maybe pied flycatchers.
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Darron - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Green-Winged Orchid:

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 :-)
Mark Collins - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson: Snow bunting on my folks bird table yesterday, in Lancashire!
Alyson - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Mark Collins: No way! That's awesome. Are they sure it wasn't a wood pigeon? :-)
MG - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson: Still not much spring round here. Rubarb making some tentative investigations about above ground conditions. Magpies making a HUGE nest in a nearby tree.
MattJP - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:
> (In reply to interdit) Well I hate you too :) I think that's only reasonable. I have to go a long way south to get a chance of a nightingale and so far my hunts have not bourne fruit.
>
> 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!

Alyson - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to MattJP: I went to Minsmere and had a good listen and thought 'that might be a nightingale' but realised I didn't actually know what I was listening for. Ho hum. I should have joined a guided nightingale walk! Next time I will.

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.
Mark Collins - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson: It came back later and my mum apparently got some photos of it. If only she could extract them and send them to me, I'd stick them on UKC for all to see.
cb294 - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to interdit:
> (In reply to interdit)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> 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.

CB
Alyson - on 23 Apr 2013
Also I met a brilliant old man fishing on the Don who told me that the geese have had 7 chickens this year. Last year they had 2 chickens but one got eaten by a herring, apparently. Surreal conversation.
Tim Sparrow on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson: Magpies making one hell of a din at 1am this morning. Followed by lots of hooting! Tawny owls presumably moved in to hunt in the area and got spotted.
Tim Sparrow on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to MattJP:
> (In reply to Tim Sparrow)
>
> 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!
johnwright - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:

> 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.)

Red squirels in the Loire valley, plus toooo many stock Dove's.
NickD - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:

> Would the wheatears venture up Llanberis Pass?

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.
Alyson - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to NickD: I'm still waiting for a ring ouzel too, although to be fair I haven't yet got out to somewhere I would expect to see one! Too many birds, too few hours where I'm not at work :(

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.
Slugain Howff - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:
>
>
> lowland heath for nightjars (they still elude me)

I've decided that this is my year to see, or hear, a Nightjar.
waterbaby - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:

Saw my first bluebell in flower today, just the one. The primroses and cowslips in full bloom for about the last week or two.
Dave Garnett - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to waterbaby:

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.
waterbaby - on 25 Apr 2013
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Yes, and I saw even more today, after the hot weather we've been having:-)
Ah, the joys of the South.
Alyson - on 28 Apr 2013
Heard my first cuckoo yesterday! At Crowle Moor/ Humber Peatlands NNR. Also heard a bittern booming at Blacktoft Sands where there were 3 pairs of marsh harriers, whitethroats, avocets and a skyful of swallows and sand martins.

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!
Green-Winged Orchid - on 28 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson: that lot should get you through work for the rest of the week.
In reply to Alyson:
> Heard my first cuckoo yesterday! At Crowle Moor/ Humber Peatlands NNR. Also heard a bittern booming at Blacktoft Sands where there were 3 pairs of marsh harriers, whitethroats, avocets and a skyful of swallows and sand martins.
>
> 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!
Toby S - on 28 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:

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!
coinneach - on 28 Apr 2013
In reply to Toby S:

Our first Swallow arrived yesterday..........................!


Time for the cats to take cover.
waterbaby - on 28 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:

All the sun this week, has worked its magic.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/waterbaby21/8690567040/in/photostream/
Alyson - on 29 Apr 2013
In reply to Submit to Gravity: I didn't have one but only because it was early morning. Is his ice cream really good then? Normally after a day out in the peak district, or indeed anywhere, I find myself accidentally turning up at Our Cow Molly for an ice cream on the way home. Sheffielders will know what I'm talking about.
Alyson - on 29 Apr 2013
In reply to Green-Winged Orchid:
> (In reply to Alyson) that lot should get you through work for the rest of the week.

It's working so far! Outward appearances would suggest I'm sitting at my desk, inwardly I'm watching pied flycatchers :)
Darron - on 29 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:

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 :-)
Alyson - on 30 Apr 2013
In reply to Darron: Yes, I'm hoping if I get back to the Humber Peatlands reserve on a June evening I might be rewarded with nightjars (fingers crossed!)

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.
ring ouzel on 30 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson: No you dont! Not any more. You need lots of time to be a ringer and you are about to find out how precious time is! :-))))
Alyson - on 30 Apr 2013
In reply to ring ouzel: My 'one day' was very open ended :-) I was thinking perhaps a retirement hobby, assuming there are any birds left in 30 years time.

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.
ads.ukclimbing.com
ring ouzel on 30 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson: If there were no birds there would be no point to life so I am hoping that there are as I want my daughter to feel the same excitement at seeing them as I do. I watched a pair of greenshanks today. Seen greenshanks plenty of times but there was a pair of them calling to each other as they flew above a moor in Sutherland at about 6am this morning and it was fabulous.

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!
Stuart Hurworth - on 30 Apr 2013
Looks like the Wallaby's have come out to play!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-22337447
Darron - on 30 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:

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?
Alyson - on 30 Apr 2013
In reply to Darron: Yes I have! Absolutely magic, what a unique photo opportunity :)

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.
Alyson - on 30 Apr 2013
In reply to ring ouzel: Of all the things I could give futurebaby - a pair of green eyes, an appreciation of poetry, a searing wit(!), a tendency to end up in hospital - I hope I give him/her a love of birds and nature. It makes everywhere richer. Every place I visit, every country, every landscape, every continent has a different layer to it if you notice what lives there.

Re: black grouse - I have only ever seen them once! Near Skipton. A new sighting is long overdue.


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