WELCOME

Welcome to my blog. If you live in Surrey and birding is your obsession (to get out of bed at some ridiculously early time of the morning, no matter what the weather, to go and look at birds isn't normal behaviour, believe me) and you're still a bit of a novice (like me) then, hopefully, this blog is for you.



Monday, 24 April 2017

SLOW, SLOW, SPRING, SPRING, SLOW...

Hi everyone. It's been a while. In fact, this is the longest I have ever gone without writing a post. In previous years I would have never imagined going through the whole of March and most of April without writing something.

Strange times, indeed. So, why the gap? Some of it has to do with the predictable workload – I now work some weekends on a motorsport project, which is taking up plenty of hours.

Secondly, the lack of birds. The start of spring never really happened locally as the persistent northerly winds put a block on migrant movements. Ray Baker, one of our local patch watchers, has admirably has been walking many miles to keep up to date with bird numbers – he actually counts every bird he sees over a few hours. And he has noted that numbers have been down by half on some days.

On April 3 for example, he counted 845 birds during his five-hour survey. Sounds quite a lot, until compared with the same day last year, when he counted 1,540...

Yes, it has been worryingly quiet, and having been not that dedicated lately, I really couldn't be arsed to venture to the patch that often.

So what has been seen in my absence?

For one thing, a Dartford Warbler. If first arrived on the Moors on February 28, appeared on and off for a few days and then disappeared. Needless to say, I never saw it – I tried a number of times, but drew a blank.

One of two Little Ringed Plovers seen late today on the Water Colour Lagoon 2
island as the rains came
The best birds seen during the past six weeks or so have been a Merlin, seen by Ray, and a Nightingale, another Ray find. For me, the highlights have been a Sedge Warbler (no-one else has seen one) and a couple of Little Ringed Plover this evening in the rain.

That's it.

Elsewhere, if I had been paying attention during the day, I could have gone down to Beachy Head to see the Blue Rock Thrush, but I didn't find out until too late.

April is nearly over and I've yet to see a Wheatear, Redstart or Ring Ouzel. Or, amazingly, a Yellowhammer! Hopefully, the opportunity hasn't gone as we approach the May bank holiday weekend. May! It is amazing how the winter drags on, seemingly forever, and then spring arrives and is gone in a flash.

There are few days are coming up I can look forward to, plus a couple days I have booked off to go to Dungeness a week on Monday – although I was tempted by Portland Bill. Hopefully, the winds will be kind and the Pomarine Skua passage will be in full swing.