Monday, 22 April 2019

Is this thing still on?

Can it really be a whole month since I posted anything on here? Been so busy with Extinction Rebellion stuff lately that birding has rather taken a bit of a back seat at times and blogging/catching up on nocmig even more so.

I'm not even going to attempt to summarise everything that's happened at Pulborough in the past five weeks or so and will simply endeavour to make my posts rather more 'little and often' from now on. Suffice to say it's been a relatively quiet spring so far with my own patch year list at least ten species down on this time last year and wader passage still yet to really get going. The cold northerly-dominated spell in late April/early May is clearly holding a lot of stuff back, it seems.

Highlights of the past week or so have been a lingering septet of Whimbrel - usually on the Mid Brooks although venturing onto the north side for a time on the 4th - a pair of Black-tailed Godwits and 1-2 Little Ringed Plovers. Gary Trew had an Oystercatcher on the 30th which sadly had gone by the time I got there in the evening. At least two singing Cuckoos are on site now with a third bird seen - possibly a female - in flight past Hail's View on the 4th. Nightingales were rather later arriving this year than last with the first singing male heard on the 15th. This was joined by at least another three over the next few days but this past weekend I've only been hearing a couple singing around the nature trail, so some have either moved on or quickly paired up and stopped singing.
Whimbrels at West Mead, photo by Paul Davy
Other bits of note from earlier in the spring were my first patch Osprey (at last!) over the North Brooks on 21st April and a Stone-curlew which I picked up on nocmig flying over on 22nd March. Two drake Garganeys were kicking around for a while in April but seem to have moved on now. Lapwings and Redshanks are again breeding in good numbers it seems, with the first Lapwing chicks already waddling about on the Mid Brooks and receiving much adoration from visitors.
Garganey on the North Brooks, 21st April

It may still have been chilly in the wind this morning but my first Broad-bodied Chaser and Dingy Skipper of the year were an encouraging sign of warmer days to come and mid to late May was when things started getting really good last year so I'm hopeful that spring isn't a total write-off just yet!

Greenshank at West Mead on 20th April
Amorous Redshanks at West Mead, 5th April
LRPs at West Mead, 5th April
Broad-bodied Chaser, 6th May
Dingy Skipper near Wiggonholt Church, 6th May

Kestrel at West Mead, 6th May

Med Gulls - this flock of 16 flew north on 12th April, part of what was a good passage for them this year
Stone-curlew over Pulborough, 22nd March