Wednesday, 25 April 2012

A swift arrival

An April swift is a fine thing and one on the 25th is welcome indeed. As Michael Flowers put it best – he’d had swift before sand martin this year:
At least two were hunting D res; their arrival no doubt brought by the swirling low pressure bringing in winds from Europe. At last the hirundines also arrived in number – a tantalising glimpse outside the sand martin colony – right family group at any rate!:
There were 70 swallows over the northern site alone today. Hopefully a genuine sand martin will take to either of the two colonies now at Tophill:
We also had 30 house martins today too. The other anticipated arrival was yellow wagtail – Michael’s course picking up three on the southern reserve this afternoon. For more details and photos see his blog as ever here. The avocets eluded the visitors today – perhaps to the taste of some (see Martin’s post here!), however we will welcome them and see what happens. The problem now is trying to prevent them being flooded out (after spending all winter trying to gather water!). Thanks to HVWG for this shot of them in action:
And also courtesy of Brian Spence:
Brian also got some more inhabitants including barn owl:
Greylags now spread around the site:
Cock pheasant:
Willow warbler:
And the short eared owls still showing both at Hempholme and Wilfholme at present:
Both marsh and hen harrier (the latter heading north as one would expect) in the last couple of days have also been welcome. Also reticent to leave were a siskin on Richard Sears’s feeders and 3 goldeneye on D res today in no apparent hurry:
Thanks to Roy Vincent too for this blackcap:
And HVWG for these tufties:
However the ruff are new and exotic looking still – the same 8 individuals for two weeks – thanks to Roy Vincent for these great flight shots:
Their limelight was stolen briefly this morning by this 1st summer mediterranean gull, though which had disappeared by the afternoon:
With black headed gull for comparison (BH left Med right):
Unfortunately I was too busy snapping and only noticed when I got home we have another darvic ringed black headed gull present – one to look out for if you have a scope:
The final arrival is common tern – thanks to Dave Ruffles for this one on O res Gantry:
And this one courtesy of Michael Flowers yesterday:
There is some conjecture surrounding last week’s tern now with evidence pointing towards a passing arctic instead. Also just moving through was this green sandpiper courtesy of Dave Ruffles feeding on the new Hempholme scrape:
Also worth mentioning this week are common sandpiper on Watton NR, cuckoo northern site, pintail South Marsh East with sedge and reed warbler, kingfisher near the lock and tawny owl in the car park.