May Magic

As April gave way to May the optimistic amongst us were out in search of more incoming migrants and while there were few surprises, we did at least see the continued arrival of commoner species.

Newly arrived swallow stops for a brief rest at the pools (J Carter)

A short trek anywhere along the cycle path between Freeman's Wood and Stodday is sure to be accompanied by a soundtrack provided by multiple warblers. Blackcaps, chiffchaffs, whitethroats, lesser whitethroats and sedge and willow warblers can all be heard with ease, blasting out their territorial rights. Reed warblers too are back in their usual nesting sites. Overhead swallows, house martins and swifts regularly sweep through while on the saltmarsh a few late wheatears, probably bound for Greenland, can still be found.
The majority of lingering white wagtails moved on last week with just a handful remaining into May. 

Yep, I'd be knackered too if I'd flown from South Africa (J Carter)

On the ponds, as the water levels continue to drop due to the mostly rain free conditions of late, the number of birds has similarly dropped. The local breeding species remain alongside a few non-breeders. At least a dozen gadwall are hanging around along with a pair of teal. A lone drake wigeon looks set to spend the summer with us.
This morning (Friday 8) a single pink-footed goose was at the Wildfowlers' Pools - a couple of days ago Dan came across an unseasonal (and doubtless un-wild) barnacle goose. I failed to catch up with this May mega and had to do with the sight of a rather attractive, if incongruous, black swan on the Lune this morning in order to fill my quota of well-dodgy-wildfowl.   
Talking of pointless web-footed birds, the first Canada goose goslings emerged this week while multiple mallard broods of various sizes can be spotted by anyone bored enough to look.
A Freeman's Pools the garrullous black-headed gull colony continues to grow - it will interesting to see how many young they get off this year.

Roe deer by Freeman's Pools
The doomed lapwings in the fields have continued to get repeatedly clobbered by the need to grow maize for indoor cattle. There have now been three separate assaults on these fields ensuring that any second or even third nesting attempts have been rendered pointless. The handful of birds sat in the fields now may yet have a further visit by large agricultural plant to contend with. Let's the solitary nesting lapwing by the pools has some success.

On a less depressing note, other notable birds to have been seen around the Aldcliffe patch in recent days include: whimbrel, common sandpiper, common tern, eider and osprey.

With the forecast set to change significantly it will interesting to see how this affects the local birds and other wildlife in the coming days...

Jon