9 Apr 2013

Is it here? Finally?

Well it looks as if the birds at least do think spring is here. Although the temperatures weren't exactly balmy the sun shone and some migrants made a belated appearance. There are still plenty of 'wintering' birds around though with good numbers of Siskins visiting the garden feeders. A short ringing session resulted in another 12 being caught. Considering I hadn't caught one in the garden over the preceding two winters that pretty good. The fat score of the birds shows some are fresh in whilst others like this fat boy below have obviously been filling their faces with sun flower hearts. This 2nd calendar year male weighed a hulking 19.9 g compared to the average 12 g.
We've still got 'wintering' Blackcaps and Bramblings visiting the garden as well. Fieldfares and Redwings look as if they've finally decided to start moving north and they've been gathering on local pastures to feed up on invertebrates now the permafrost has started melting.
 A trip to Hilbre on Saturday saw us arriving full of hope as dawn broke.Sure enough a walk round the island produced my first Wheatear of the year caught in one of the helioglands! A real surprise as we normally catch these in potter traps. A beautiful 2nd calendar year male of the nominate race.

Spreading its tail showing why the old English name is 'white arse'

The Islands daffodils are putting on a brave display despite the still cool temperatures and with blue skies you could almost believe it was warmer than it actually was.

Finally, to really prove spring was at least on its way, my first Sandwich Terns put in an appearance.

Leaving the island to the visitors streaming over after the tide I headed home and a walk later in the day (followed by a pint at the Bunbury) along the Shropshire Union canal at Stoak was rewarded with my first singing Chiffchaff of the year.

Sunday saw Mark & I making an abortive effort to see Lancashire's short staying Killdeer although we weren't unduly bothered as we'd seen the Shetland one a few years ago.

The night was spent on Hilbre ready for a dawn start Monday morning before work. Proof that spring might be genuinely here was provided by a continuing passage of Goldcrests and Meadow Pipits!

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