Today is the first decent day of Spring that we've had on the Solway - everything looks fine!
Saw two or three small flocks of Barnacles http://www.flickr.com/photos/46441928@N07/4376298271/ flying along the tideline this morning. What a glorious sight! These beautiful black and white geese won't be leaving us for Svalbard just yet. - they'll be hanging around for a little time more. The majority of the Pinkfeet http://www.flickr.com/photos/46441928@N07/4319794193/seem to have departed - this has been taking place over the last few weeks and we now have a decent southwesterly wind to help them on their way. However, we are reliably informed by our grocer, Bruce, that there are still good numbers around the Newton Marsh, Moricambe Bay area. http://www.flickr.com/photos/46441928@N07/4390378923/
Walked down the lonning to the hide this afternoon. Other birders informed us that there are a few Wigeon and Pintail hanging on. Shoveller and Shelduck were also in evidence, showing up in the sunshine. Big numbers of Teal were now showing up all over the Reserve. Highlight of the afternoon was a magnificent confrontation between 2 male Roe Deer, resulting in a wild chase around the rushy meadow with the dominent male seeing the lesser one off the premises.
Joe, our neighbour, reported later a careful count of Blacktailed Godwits on the flooded wetland in front of the hide. He had observed a fine aerial display by 8 of these brilliant flyers coming into their summer plumage.
Good count of 14 Bumble bees on Gorse and Willow shows, at least, that some have survived the Winter.
Bird of The Day: Slightly unusual for us, a fall of small birds on the hawthorn bushes on front of the marsh. Assumed to be pipits but on closer inspection turned out to be 5 Twite. Watch out for them!
Took a quick afternoon walk down to the hide. Good numbers of Shoveller showing and a few Pintails - Wigeon are still hanging about. Loads of Teal.
Dave showed up at the hide and amazingly spotted a male Wheatear in a distant ploughed field adjacent to the reserve - goodness knows how many hundreds of yards away! Made a mental note to get same make of scope - although rather attached to my old Kowa!
On returning homewards for tea, spotted a warblery bird in hedge about 7 yards away. Unfortunately did not have have binoculars and could only eyeball this bird. Kept up a gentle pace with it as it picked nonchalantly in the undergrowth - and because of its size, general dullness and lack of song, I put my money on a female Chiffchaff.
On arriving back on the marsh edge, I again saw a single Twite in the hawthorn bush in front of my house.
Unusual sighting in the garden this morning - mopping up remains of old stale loaf - Six Magpies. I have forgotten what precise momentous event they foretell in folk legend! Could it be that I am due to win the Lottery?
Calm Spring-like day with very little wind. Plenty of feeding activity here in the garden; Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Tree and House Sparrows, Green Finches and Great, Blue and Coal Tits. The Meadow Pippit seems to have taken up residence on the marsh in front of the house.
Blackbird heard singing well. These birds are great mimicks - 'our Blackbird' does a particularly good cat yowling and is not bad at a curlew either.
Have not yet heard Blackcap, Chiffchaff or Willow Warbler in the orchard but expect to do so shortly. Spring is late, definately.
We seem to have attracted a Moorhen http://www.flickr.com/photos/46441928@N07/4461495164/ from the Reserve to feed in the garden amongst the rest of the birds - quite a dominant animal and likes its own space.