Saturday, 30 April 2011

April 2011

The turn of the month bought particularly nice weather and gave spring migrants the chance to get straight back on breeding territories. By the 9th, I had seen Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Wheatear, Chiff-chaff, Whinchat, Pied Flycatcher and Osprey all back on their traditional breeding grounds in Cumbria. However, that was it for me in Cumbria, the term was over and back to Southampton I went...And what good timing this was.The day after my return; 3 quality county birds were up for grabs - all were potential county ticks for myself and many. First was a Whiskered Tern in Stokes Bay, and despite the early morning start there was no sign. Mid-morning and news of a singing Savi's at Farlington Marshes filtered out...on arrival this bird stopped singing and after waiting 2-3 hours; nothing!
I went for lunch with Emma's family...and as with what always happens when you've arranged something - things get worse! The Black Stork seen briefly the week before flying thru the county was seen 2-3 more times in New Forest at early afternoon. Trying to ignore all the messages; the final straw came when it was relocated by Keith Betton sat in a tree at Slufter's Inclosure. On arrival the bird took flight and circled low several times over my head before dropping down a few hundred yards away in cover. Dusk was spent back at Farlington where the Savi's reeled almost continously!! A week long holiday in Cornwall with the family was a nice break and got in some quality birding while enjoying the early summer. Although I didn't find anything good myself except groppers and Turtle Dove. Highlights included: Long-billed Dowitcher at Lodmoor RSPB enroute, 2 male Woodchat Shrikes in the same field by the campsite at Treen, Bonaparte's Gull on the Hayle and a Night Heron on the return leg in Dorset. Oh..and I dipped two apparent Little Swifts over Wadebridge. Other highlights of the month were Pied Fly at Farlington (14th), 2 Lesser Peckers in the New Forest (16th), Pearl-bordered Fritileries near West Dean (25th) and a bird race score of 137 in daylight hours (30th).

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