As is so often the case, March this year delivered a rather hesitant trickle of migrants for most of the month before ending with a rush of arrivals in the last few days.
The first Little Ringed Plover of the year is always a very welcome sight and this year's came at Winpenny on the 17th (Steve Chastell/Paul Davy) with at least two or three present on a number of days later in the month and perhaps as many as five on the 31st with two on the South Brooks early afternoon and three from the Hanger in the evening.
|Little Ringed Plover. Photo: Carey Lodge|
Redshanks and Lapwings are both well and truly back on territory, with at least ten of the former around most days now, making their presence heard from all around the reserve!
The high pressure towards the end of the month slowed down any visible hirundine arrivals - many presumably cruising over at altitude - with just a handful of Sand Martins and a couple of Swallows and House Martins reported. That was until today when a shift to rather more unsettled weather and a brisk northeasterly brought down impressive numbers. Around two hundred mostly Sand Martins were feeding over the North Brooks this evening along with at least half a dozen Swallows.
The widespread arrivals of Garganeys on the 23rd/24th initially fell rather short of Pulborough with a single drake found by Paul Davy at Waltham Brooks on the 24th. By the end of the week though a drake made a couple of appearances on the patch, first on the North Brooks on the 28th (Tracy Bain) then at Hail's View on the 29th (Alan Baker, C&J Moore, Paul Davy). By today there were two drakes and a female at Waltham, so presumably the Pulborough individual is among that trio. Hopefully I'll catch up with another on the patch at some point this year!
|Black-tailed Godwits at West Mead|
A female Merlin continues to be a fairly regular sight around the place, mostly recently flying low over the Hanger this evening, putting the wind up the hirundines out on the North Brooks (although it did make counting the latter a lot easier as they all flew up high in a tight flock!)
A first winter Little Gull was seen on the 15th and the 18th, while the long staying pair of White-fronted Geese at last departed this week, last reported on the 26th.
The common warblers are certainly coming in thick and fast now with the first singing Willow Warbler in Black Wood from the 29th and at least a dozen Chiffchaffs and half a dozen Blackcaps noted on most visits.
Remarkably, aside from a distant glimpse of a probable from the Hanger this evening, I've managed to get through March without a single patch Wheatear, and I haven't heard of any reports from anyone else either. Hopefully there'll be one any day now - the forecast for the coming week doesn't look brilliant with just a whiff of southerlies on the cards on Thursday but the possible showers and northerly winds should bring down anything that does try to make it through.
Onto nocmig and, when the wind at last abated, a series of night recordings in the third week of the month proved productive with Dunlin, Little Ringed Plover (video below) and a flurry of Common Scoter the highlights. As ever I've still got a backlog of recordings to go through so am looking forward to seeing what else was captured. For regular updates on my nocmigging check out Trektellen.