Friday, 10 April 2009

They're back

yes five singing Willow Warblers this morning prompts me to return myself after an absence due to severe apathy (to work, not birdwatching) but the descending cadence of these great little birds brings a renewed energy to the Carr. Not that it’s been quiet. Skylark, Curlew, Lapwing, Meadow Pipit and Chaffinch have all been in full voice. Only a couple of drumming Snipe is a disappointment but this morning saw the start of Goldfinch and Linnet song and of course the Willow Warblers.

So what’s been going on? Late January saw a male Hen Harrier move through followed by the return of the Curlew with flocks peaking around 40. Three Crossbill was an interesting find near the golf course and flocks of Meadow Pipit(100+), Pied Wagtail (80+) and Golden Plover (300+) have regular in the fields south of Mayfair Cottage. Even today a large flock of the latter was present many almost in full breeding plumage.

Oystercatcher returned to Banks pond and had a nest on the island until they were ousted by a pair of Canada Geese as has occurred in the preceding two years. Little Grebe, Coot and Moorhen are all making preparations.

Willow Tit, Siskin and male Reed Buntings all regular visitors to my garden over the last few weeks with House Sparrows and Jackdaw all nesting. Two failed laying attempts already by the Collared Doves, presumably due the choosing a site too close to the Jackdaws.

Generally most of the flash water has now drained away and the fields are looking a bit dead. Horton Grange flash has been drained so another good little habitat has been lost although hardly surprising as it formed in an area which was previously dry arable land after the completion of the Open Cast (oops sorry……Surface Mine) It was interesting to see the Northumberland Wildlife Trust express an interest in managing the area but they follow in the footsteps of many who have tried and failed. They also shot themselves spectacularly in the foot with a press release to the Journal claiming the area was dry as a sponge when at the time it was flooded! The locals were not best pleased.

The old mine workings have opened up again west of Carr Grange presumably due to the flooding though not as spectacular as the last time in 2000 when all the flood drained as if down a plughole. I don’t think they ever did find out where the water went!

A handful of Fieldfare remain near the range, first Sand Martin last weekend and Swallow on Tuesday 7th thanks to GB but I dipped out on the Red Kite he’d had earlier. Not on my Carr list yet which this year to date is

58 Hen Harrier
59 Grey Wagtail
60 Herring Gull
61 Barn Owl
62 Crossbill
63 Coal Tit
64 Little Owl
65 Oystercatcher
66 Siskin
67 Little Grebe
68 Tufted Duck
69 Canada Goose
70 Peregrine
71 Stock Dove
72 Linnet
73 Rock Dove
74 Chiff Chaff
75 Sand Martin
76 Swallow
77 Willow Warbler

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