Friday - my first CBC visit of 2011. I've decided to try to continue doing the territory mapping exercise adapted from the CBC methodology again this year, so Friday morning was Visit A. In terms of breeding birds, skylarks and meadow pipits are certainly back in good numbers with at least 30 of the latter in the dunes. Not much happening on the migrant front though, a single sand martin was a welcome sight.
Highlight of the morning went to a pair of water rails. Mr water rail was in the reeds squealing for all he was worth whilst she pottered around the ditch non-plussed. Another positive sight was seeing tree sparrows hanging about by our boxes, fingers crossed they use them this year.
Today, after stopping briefly at Cresswell Pond to shamefully twitch a drake American wigeon (it is ages since I've seen one), we had a couple of hours at Druridge in the warm spring sunshine. The same sunshine had brought out my first two butterflies of the year, a large white and a very shabby looking peacock.
No new migrants to report, a look offshore for sandwich terns and puffins drew a blank, sic red-breasted mergs and 14 red-throated divers were good counts. At the north end, we watched a group of 40 or so starlings swirling and twisting, quite amazing, the reason? A sparrowhawk, a male judging by his size. The flock was tight at first, twisiting in formation, then it broke up, one bird hit a parked car, flying off, a bit donnered, another fell victim to the pursuer, carried off into the bushes to become a tasty meal. Now, I'm not a fussy eater by any means, but if I was a sprawk, I'm not sure a starling would be my first choice on the menu. Give me a nice, plump, collared dove any time.
86 water rail
87 sand martin