A Bit Of A Push

It was a bit of a push getting up at 3:30 yesterday morning, and this morning at 5:00 a.m., although compared to yesterday, today I had a bit of a lie in! The bit of a push in my blog title refers to the push of spring migrants that was evident the day before. It wasn't a big push, as it can't be at this time of year, but a push it was nevertheless. 

I was in Northeast Lincolnshire yesterday morning on the Humber Estuary again, and it was a lovely clear morning with a light south-westerly wind. The southerly wind was warm, and responsible for a movement of birds. A phone call from Ian as I was getting out of my car, and the first singing Chiffies of the morning were registering, told me that he had just had a stonking male Ring Ouzel on the golf course back at the Obs in Lancs. I must admit, Ring Ouzel was on my radar this morning, but it wasn't to be. 

As I headed off through the scrub towards my VP, I recorded a total of three singing Chiffchaffs. New in at the site was a singing Cetti's Warbler, and it was very vocal with its explosive song. Whether it was a migrant, or a returning breeder I'm not sure, but I'll find in a few weeks when I complete the first Breeding Bird Survey (BBS). 

Other summer migrants were in the form of two Swallows that headed northwest, following the edge of the estuary, and a female Wheatear perched up on the sea wall. Wheatears certainly do like sea walls. 

It was definitely a vis type morning, in fact more of a vis than a grounded morning, and I'll cut straight to the chase with my totals as follows (all between northwest and northeast); 490 Pink-footed Geese, 35 Woodpigeons, three Jackdaws, three Carrion Crows, the aforementioned two Swallows, 28 Meadow Pipits, a Chaffinch, four Goldfinches, three Siskins, 26 Linnets and a Lesser Redpoll

As I mentioned before, there is plenty of scrub on site, some wet, some dry, some open, and as a result it provides good nesting habitat for a number of species, like the five Skylarks, a further 13 Linnets, a pair of Yellowhammers and ten Reed Buntings that I recorded. 

Raptors were represented by a male Sparrowhawk and a female Kestrel, and it was the first time out of six, that I didn't see or hear a Buzzard. 

Six Roe Deer were present, and I think I have recorded them on every visit. I suspect that as there is no access to the site, they are a little more confiding than they usually are. A Fox was a first for me for the site, and the vixen sat soaking up some warming rays from the early morning sun. As soon as I moved though, she was off. 
 
Roe Deer
 
Fox
 

I don't see a huge number of Brimstone butterflies in my travels, so it was a pleasure to see a male moving along the sunny south side of a hedge. Unfortunately, it was a little too quick for my limited photographic skills!

This morning, as I mentioned before, it was another earlyish start, but not terribly early, and I headed to my ringing site in the Hodder Valley in Bowland, and put a couple of nets up in the arboretum. It was a bit of an experiment to see whether I could catch in this area, which species, and whether it was worthwhile. 

On my first round I caught a male Blackcap with a fat score of 40, which means it was carrying quite a bit of fat and had a way to go yet on his migratory journey, a Chiffchaff and two Goldcrests. Not a bad first round I thought, but that was it other than a Song Thrush recapture. So, it was a success and a bit of a failure at the same time I suppose, but I was probably there on the wrong day, as there had been a bit of a push the day before, and the wind was northerly. A quick call to Ian on the coast confirmed that it was quiet there too, so I'll head back in the next day or three. 
 
Blackcap
 
Chiffchaff
 

In addition to the ringing, I did have a few bits of pieces in the form of two singing Song Thrushes, two singing Chiffies, a singing Goldcrest, a singing Mistle Thrush, a Siskin over, two Jays, a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Buzzard, two Coal Tits, two Lesser Redpolls and a female Sparrowhawk.

No early start for me in the morning, as it's a beer night tonight!