Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Knocking on the door...

Juvenile Chiffchaff in the front garden buddleia

Juvenile Whitethroat on the back drive rose.
Yesterday afternoon when I took Peggy for her walk, a bird call from high in the sky made me stop.

 A sound I've not heard here for a few months, maybe since we did the Lockdown Garden Birdrace? 

It took a short while to see the dots high overhead. A family party of 5 Lapwings 'peewitting' to each other as the adults guide this years young steadily down to the shore.

To them, this means little, but to the naturalist, it speaks volumes. In the language of wild things, it tells me that the breeding season, in the hills, that began for this family in March with the male Lapwing tumbling and stooping to the ground like a paper kite, is now successfully over for another year.
As I sit and work from home I get distracted and look out onto the garden. Young warblers and tits are passing through everyday, some fattening up for a longer journey.
The door is opening on Autumn. The Lapwings have returned to the wintering grounds on the 7th of July.
This morning I got up early to have a seawatch before work. It was mild and dull with a slight easterly breeze blowing so I wandered through the village, across Tommy's field and on to the coast path before settling down for an hour.

Whilst there weren't loads of birds moving, there was enough to make the sharp start worthwhile.

Manx Shearwaters 33 N in parties of up to 7 birds.
Shearwater sp, 2 distant low fliers had a very different jizz and I couldn't see pale on them. I am almost sure they were the first Sooty Shearwaters of the year but I just couldn't nail it so they went unrecorded. there'll be more.
Bonxie 2 big brutes casually flew past.
Arctic Skua 1 dark bird was close in moving N.
The two skuas are also patch year ticks.
A scarcer species twinkled into view as 2 Little Terns moved N. Although they nest only 6 miles away, it is a surprisingly tricky bird to get on my patch.
A few wildfowl made it to the list with 2 Common Scoter N, 2 Red breasted Merganser ( 1N, 1S) and 2 Goosander S.

Mediterranean Gull 1 fs N 

The common birds, Gannets, Auks, Kittiwakes and Fulmars were in steady numbers heading off to feeding grounds for the day. So not a bad morning though the edge was scuffed off slightly when Whitburn reported 2 Pomarine Skuas N and they were tracked up as far as Boulmer. I would have had them but work called.
Around the garden, our single young Swallow seems to have fledged and is flying around with the adults, while I photographed our local male Blackbird with a 'worm'. On the computer I was surprised to see that the worm had legs. It was a Smooth Newt! 

Fledged Swallow...

Amphibian eating Blackie...

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