Monday, 30 April 2012

Spring migration finally gets going

With the very unfavourable conditions for most of the month, movement through the patch has in the main been painfully slow. Hirundines have been the most regular migrants seen with a trickle of Swallows, along with the odd House Martin heading along the coast plus a few Sand Martins back prospecting the cliffs. The first Willow Warblers of the spring, a few more Wheatears, a couple of Black Redstarts and a few Yellow Wagtails also put in an appearance, but most noteworthy was the influx of Ring Ouzels with 9 seen around the patch including 3 together at West Runton and a pair at Felbrigg.

Things started to pick up in the last week of the month with the first few Swifts of the year going through and Common Whitethroats returning to territories. A walk through Felbrigg Park on the 27th produced the welcome sight of a flock of 25 Crossbills, the first seen there for quite a few months, and on the 28th a Short-eared Owl west over East Runton was unexpected bonus.

With the strong north-easterlies on the 29th, a seawatch produced a single Manx Shearwater, along with Sandwich Terns, Fulmars, Kittiwakes, Gannets and Guillemots.

Then with the welcome change in the weather, there was a sudden flood of migrants on the last day of the month with Wheatears being the most numerous arrivals, with small numbers of Whinchats mixed in, and a fine male Redstart was a welcome find at East Runton.

However the bird of the day was definitely the all too brief Citrine Wagtail at West Runton, which unlike the one last spring was mobile and elusive and posed only briefly and distantly for a pic before moving on.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Back on the patch

Since my return from Florida, the first few days of the month have been spent catching up with the few spring migrants that have arrived so far, and also a few patch goodies too.

Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps are now singing round the patch and other migrants noted have included a couple of Wheatears, 3 Black Redstarts and the first Stonechat of the year. Seawatching in strong north-easterlies produced a couple of Sandwich Terns, and a few Gannets, Kittiwakes and Common Scoter, but most notable was a big passage of Fulmars heading east, which was good to see given their virtual absence offshore during recent years.

Rarer still has been a Great Grey Shrike on the south side of Northrepps, a Hooded Crow associating with a large feeding corvid flock, and nearly as unusual patchwise were a couple of Grey Partridges.