I have seen snow in April on occasion, but this year the cold spell is getting pretty irksome now. Most of the month has been filled with cold northerly winds and a subsequent lack of birds.
It is now approaching mid-April so this blocking weather will change. Bird migration will continue regardless, eventually.
Yesterday 3 Swallows arrived back over our house, twittering and mobbing the Barn Owl. Our shed door is now left open until October to allow them to nest.
What the Swallows felt this morning at below freezing temps with a half an inch covering of snow remains to be seen, but its enough to say, there are no Swallows here today. Hirundines can just move back south again until they find a mild enough climate to feed in. they then come back, following a mild therm north.
At Boulmer first thing it was colder than most days over the Christmas holidays, yet a single Swallow flew around the village. Up on the beach a male Greenland Wheatear looked very smart as it sheltered from the northerly. It will probably face worse conditions on its breeding grounds. Back at the car, a tinkling Snow Bunting moved north distantly, unseen .
It was very quiet here again, so we popped a couple of miles down to Alnmouth to look for the 4 Avocets Tom Cadwallender found here yesterday but they had gone too. 2 Whooper Swans dropped in and while we chatted to Tom and Muriel, an Osprey came in off, quite low, and flew over the river Aln and headed off north west.
Back home at lunchtime, a wander in our village wood was a bit more sheltered and the sun had a bit of heat to it. A fully flowered Sallow was quite active with bumblebees and an odd hoverfly.
|Criorhina ranunculi was a new hoverfly for me. Two were on the catkins.|
|Another new species was Eristalis intricaria in the same bush.|
|I think this one is Bombus hortorum, Garden Bumblebee,|
Later in the afternoon walking back along the lane with Peggy, a surprise female Brambling hopped out of the roadside ditch right in front of us. My first this year, this bird is a returning migrant on its way to Scandinavia, as soon as the wind changes.