Sunday, 29 March 2009

At Last it starts to happen.

Once I'd got the ice off my windscreen this morning it turned out to be a much more Spring-like day.

After a quiet period at the monument, watching for visible migration I walked down to Bockhill Farm, where Gerald and Nigel had just found a migrant Tree Pipit. It was staying in one area, sometime dropping into a field to feed, before flying up and perching in a tree. All the time we watched, it remained silent.

In this picture it is just about possible to make out the shorter hind claw, one of the distinguishing features from the similar Meadow Pipit. In truth the pattern of the streaks and thicker bill are better characters. We don't see many in spring, they often arrive at their breeding territories early, but are seldom seen on migration.

There were two Wheatears strutting their stuff in a recently sown field. In contrast to the Tree Pipit they are familiar spring migrants, and usually it is the males that arrive first, as in this case.

Although they are mainly seen on the ground they will sit up is a tree or a bush, showing off their stunning breeding plumage.

At the end of the field there was a substantial flock of Linnets, probably over 100 birds, they landed in the hedge by the golf course before flying off in a panic.

The reason for their departure became evident when I saw a Sparrowhawk dart through. In the picture above it looks as if it is heading straight for the golfer, but in fact that if a bit of an illusion as the guy hacking out of the rough is much further back.

AT the bottom of the hill, by hope point there was a Chiffchaff flitting along the hedge and a small flock of Long-tailed Tits. These are usually early breeders and many by now will have built their nests, but so far I haven't seen any carrying nesting material. During the morning A Sand Martin and a Swallow were seen, but not by me, but the start of spring had still been heralded, and not just by changing the clocks.
Check Spelling


Rhys said...

I've just come across your blog and think I will subscribe as it reminds me of my birdwatching days in the UK.

I'm living in amsterdam at the moment and, for the record, my first summer migrants were a pair of storks, and a really early whitethroat on about the 5th of March.

Warren Baker said...

Good to hear a report of migrants arriving tony. Gives me something to hope for!

Graham James said...

Super shots of the Tree Pipit, Tony.

Tony Morris said...

Hi Rhys, nice of you to pop in.