Notes of April

Where does the time go? Three weeks have past and I haven’t found the time to put finger to key on these pages. Its been a busy time out on the reserves and to be honest the only interesting things I have seen have been while doing other things. These past three weeks have mostly been spent at Farlington, stuck firmly in fencing mode. But after another full on day with the Farlington Volunteers today, Im glad to say we have managed to get the whole place stockproof once again.

New fenceline in the aerial field

New fenceline in the aerial field

April is a fantastic month with lots of spring species either migrating back, popping up out of the ground or hatching. In between busying ourselves I did manage to note a few of these so I shall give a brief overview of April’s highlights;

For a week or so around the 5th a Juv Little gull frequented the south marsh, around the deeps and the willow pool.

Juv. Little gull - Deeps (5th April)

Juv. Little gull – Deeps (5th April)

Juv. Little gull - Deeps (5th April)

Juv. Little gull – Deeps (5th April)

Sandwich tern made a welcome return to the harbour also around the 5th with Common tern and Little tern arriving a week or so later.

Sandwich Tern

Sandwich Tern

Two Whimbrel were sighted off the point on the 5th as well as a male Wheatear on South marsh. A single Avocet on the 14th was unexpected as well as two adult Spoonbill. A Greenshank was noted on the lake and I even had a treat of seeing a Weasel!!- a first for me on the reserve.

Wheatear

Wheatear

Further into the month, on the 21st I saw my first Redstart of the year – a female on the fence lines at Southmoor. This area is a hotspot for passerines and I also noted Blackcap (male and female), Whitethroat, with Willow warbler and Chiffchaff in song.

As we approach the end of the month good numbers of swallows are now on the marsh, and can be seen collecting mud from the wet areas of north marsh, next to the track. Lapwing are now busy sitting on eggs with sightings of three chicks already! Another wheatear was noted today as well as a Lesser whitethroat in song right next to the hut.

Advertisements

Nesting Season Gets Going (at last)

The promise of a fine day had me down at Farlington bright and fairly early to map the lapwing territories, unfortunately when I got there the reserve was covered in thick fog. So I when and checked on the cattle first and incidentally saw another new species of bird for the year, a first summer little gull over the Stream. I ha d a report of a swift seen flying in and out of the gloom and sure enough when the fog did clear there were 7 swifts feeding low over the North Marsh, another new bird for the year.

Very quickly the sun came out strongly and I was off to check on the lapwings. So far things are looking good, there are at least thirty-two territories and the majority are sitting on eggs and so far only two pairs seem to have lost their clutches. Let’s hope this results in lots of young hatching and good productivity.

When I got to the Deeps the little gull had got there before me, I took the chance to get a very poor picture, my excuse is it was quite distant and, as the name suggests, it was small.

little gull

little gull

Otherwise my walk round was uneventful, 4 wheatear, a few swallow and a house martin were the birds of any note.

I then attempted to do a butterfly transect, the idea is to walk a set route and count all the butterflies seen on a fixed width transect, unfortunately I saw no butterflies, despite the sunshine. The gorse flowers were looking and smelling very good though.

gorse flowers

gorse flowers