8 Mar 2009

In search of migrants!

With news that two very early White Wagtails had been reported on the Wirral hopes were high the first wave of migrants would be heading our way this weekend! Nothing -and no White Wagtails subsequently reported anywhere else which is a bit mystifying! A case of Easyjet back (come on guys I know you don't want to pay extra for seats with back adjustment but just a couple of degrees extra will make all the difference to passenger comfort!) meant I've not had the inclination to wander far but even so spent a lot of time out and about looking for the first Chiffchaff to no avail.

Highlight of the weekend has been the return of a singing male Yellowhammer locally - one of only two birds tenaciously clinging on for the last few years. Good news is our local farmer has signed up to the entry level Countryside Stewardship scheme and has left stubble all winter. This has attracted a large mixed finch flock and his first Barn Owl for 25 years!!! Ploughing commences for the spring sowing of barley in the next couple of weeks so I'm hoping the odd Wheatear will drop in given favourable weather conditions.

No sight or sound of the Lesser-spotted Woodpecker in Stanney Woods all weekend despite having the camera with me! Some interesting shots of Treecreeper (above) and Great-spotted Woodpecker showing the adaptions that make them so adept at climbing - especially the stiffened tail feathers of the Woodpecker.

Rivacre Valley was also a migrant free zone but teeming with commoner birds. This reserve certainly seems t obe the stronghold for Bullfinches in the area and is home to at least one pair of Grey Wagtails.

A quick trip to Inner Marsh Farm RSPB on Friday afternoon was rewarded with good views of Ruff and a selection of wintering wildfowl. The Oystercatchers are back on territory but no sign of their Avocet -foe yet. Both Water Rail & Med Gull were heard but not seen. With lots of muddy margins its looking good for a spring wader passage.

Finally, congratulations to those celebrities who've climber Kilimanjaro for the Red Nose appeal. Having done it myself in 2004 I know what they've been through and how they feel!

Yours truly on the summit of Kilimanjaro - Uhuru Peak 5895 m above sea level.

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