Tuesday 19 April 2016

The trickle becomes a flow

This post is a bit of a round-up of the last two weekends because finally some migrants have started to arrive. Well, a trickle became a steady flow as Swallows, Sand Martins, House Martins, Wheatears, Chiffers, Willows Warblers and Whitethroats are all in and this morning I had a singing Nightingale only five minutes walk from the house (not a snowballs chance in hell of that ever happening in Ireland).
The weekend before last Nick and I checked the Horsey and Waxham stretch of the east coast for migrants. Chiffs, Willows and Swallows were all present and correct but it was a fine male Ring Ouzel near the pipe dump that won bird of the day - despite competition from an equally handsome though distant Red-necked Grebe at Ormsby Broad. I think if that had been closer it might have won because summer plumaged RN Grebes are just stunning. Nick commented that they must be rare birds in County Cork and come to think of it - I have not seen one there in my time. In fact I have seen every grebe on the Irish list in Cork (including Pied-billed Grebe) but not Red-necked!
First Wheatear of the year!

Bird of the Day (though not Photo of the Day) - Ring Ouzel

Last weekend I managed to squeeze in some birding somewhere between bathroom renovations and Muse concerts - I think I did well to manage that.
Once again I hit the east coast, being mindful of the fact that the winds were all wrong, so my expectations were low. Horsey and Waxham were very quiet apart from a few singing Willow Warblers however a jaunt around Great Yarmouth Cemetery produced two smart Blackcaps and a Lesser Whitethroat (excuse the dreadful photo).

Willow Warbler - Horsey Gap, Norfolk

Lesser Whitethroat - GY Cemetery, Norfolk
Meanwhile, I've been doing almost daily spot checks of a site only five minutes from home where in the last two years there had been several singing Nightingales. Although Will Soar beat me to it, I was delighted this morning while walking the dog at 6.20am to hear the sweet lilting tones of a Nightingale in song. From the same spot, in fact from almost the same hawthorn bush exactly to the same day as previous years - quite a feat for any creature. Welcome back boys!

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