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Showing posts from March, 2016

Swallow arrives to blow records out of the water

A Swallow careering over Church Marsh on the 25th was the earliest here by over 2 weeks; my previous record being April the 9th at Church Marsh. Not sure as to a whole patch date with this species, but looking over last year's notes my first Swallow was recorded on the 19th, perhaps a delay here due to the annual Scotland trip, but either way this is a significant record. The bird struggled against the increasing wind for a bit, before heading off north. 42 Teal were on the broad (down from 71 the previous weekend) along with a pair of Shoveler. A Little Egret was fishing at the back of the lagoon, and 2 Heron appeared to be involved in some kind of courtship chase. Throw in a singing Chiffchaff in the carr woodland by the ruins, and dare I say Spring had sprung.

Back in the garden, a pair of Siskin continue to visit the feeders. A Comma Butterfly was another first of the year, basking on a paving slab out the back. I am glad that my first Butterfly of the year was also one of my…

Sentinel at the staithe

Looking back to last weekend, with the Penduline Tit still not pinned down at Strumpshaw I set out on my own search at Wheatfen, just across the river and of course on my patch. Treecreeper were probably the highlight of the visit, with 3 showing very well and 2 partaking in courtship chases. A close fly-by female Marsh Harrier, 2 Siskin, Mistle and Song Thrush and a couple of Reed Bunting made up the rest of the birds seen, and I retreated home just before 9 due to the onset of sleet turning to snow.
With the nights slowly pulling out, I was able to get down the marsh on Monday and take in the evening commute. 3 Barn Owl, Kestrel, Buzzard and 2 Marsh Harrier were an excellent but almost expected Raptor haul. A Shelduck had joined the gulls on the small flash that has recently opened up since the wet weather, and more of this species were across the river. Plenty of Wigeon remain loafing on the river and looking across the river at the array of Wildfowl and Waders (Dunlin and Golden …