Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Birds of March

An exceptionally rare view of an incredibly numerous local bird. Common scoters are found in their thousands offshore here, but this lone female dropped in on the local freshwater lake - normally they're dots in the distance.

Here are the new species for my year list this month. Mostly species I've seen before, and generally poor quality views. The first of the summer migrants have started arriving, which should keep the total rising over the next few weeks :)

Though a few overwinter here, most chiffchaffs return in March and April. Hearing their lighthearted, aimless song is a sure sign the season has changed.

March 2015
9 species (1 lifer) - year total 111
Common scoter
Lesser redpoll
Rock pipit
Stock dove
Tawny owl
Wheatear (below)

I didn't see the water pipit(s) on a recent visit to look for them, but this Scandinavian rock pipit (Anthus petrosus littoralis) was almost as notable.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Birds of February

 My best-ever jay shots.

No month can possibly live up to the first of the year - most common species get added to the list in January. This month is not only the shortest, but not great for migrants - a bit early for the spring arrivals, a bit late for anything else. Plus I started the month with a knee injury, so couldn't get out much.

However, it's a good chance to mop up the winter birds I've missed, and prepare for the frantic season to come.

February 2015
7 species (3 lifers) - year total 102
Jack snipe
Song thrush
Black-tailed godwit
Red-throated diver
Green sandpiper 

Above: regular snipe. Below: the only reasonable shot of a jack snipe, just before it landed back on the marsh.

Bird of the month is undoubtedly the red-throated diver (see previous entry), which has settled on a local marine lake for the time being. It was great to tick off another couple of species I've missed several times, even if my views of green sandpiper and jack snipe were brief and distant.