Monday, April 16, 2007

Migration watching

Production editor Matt Merritt writes:
The great thing about this time of year, especially when the weather suddenly turns all Mediterranean on us, is that every day brings with it new arrivals as spring migration gets into full swing.
I spent most of the weekend out looking for Ring Ouzels. I know, I know, I probably shouldn’t get excited about what is after all basically a Blackbird with a white collar, but there you go. I was completely unsuccessful. On the other hand, I spent two and a bit days out in glorious sunshine, striding purposefully all over north west Leicestershire and south Derbyshire, which has to be good for both the soul and the waistline.
And that’s the beauty of birding. You go out looking for one thing, and find something quite different. Because, although the ouzels remained elusive (I’ll have another go tonight), I did manage to hear my first Cuckoo of the year (Sence Valley Forest Park, Leics), along with a drumming Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (Swithland Reservoir, Leics) and a Lesser Whitethroat (Willington Gravel Pits, Derbys), and to see three Whitethroats (Charnwood Lodge, Leics), two fine male Wheatears (finally, again at SVFP), a female Redstart (Swithland Res), a Tree Pipit (Beacon Hill, Leics) and a Green Sandpiper (SVFP again). Add to that three Little Ringed Plovers (they’ve been around for a while, but usually singly) and watching a pair of Kestrels play house (unfortunately involving the rather gory dismemberment of a vole just outside the nestbox), and you’ve got a pretty satisfying weekend. It’s just a bit hard getting back to work with the soaring temperatures giving you that summer holiday feeling.

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