Tuesday 23 March 2021

March marches on

Lockdown continues and March marches on towards April. I should've been on holiday in Fife this week, we had a cottage booked in Pittenween for a week... I've still got three days off work this week so will trudge around the 5km patch looking for early migrants - Chiffchaffs are already back in decent numbers.

Whilst the Chiffchaffs are arriving, the Whooper Swans are leaving. The spectacle of hundreds of Whoopers heading north was seen across the region over the weekend and continued through to today. I didn't see hundreds at Druridge but as Janet and I walked along the beach, a herd of 88 moved north just offshore, 30 odd of them ditched into the sea whilst the rest continued their migration north.

Whoopers landing on the sea

Other signs of Spring were welcome. Meadow Pipits are back, parachuting in the dunes Goldfinches fed on Willow catkins and Elf Cups have emerged. Grey Herons were busy in the heronry - they'll be on eggs now.

'Parachuting' Meadow Pipit

Male Goldfinch feeding on Willow catkins
Elf Cups

Winter was still evident however. There's still 300 or so Wigeon on the Budge fields and 400 Pink-footed Geese were in fields near the coal road. 

Drake Wigeon  - one of abut 300 still on the Budge fields

On Sunday evening I did an hours seawatch from 5pm-6pm and it felt like winter, the wind was icy cold. No real signs of spring offshore - I had hoped for a Sandwich Tern, Puffin or even a passing Sand Martin. Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Gannets and a few Kittiwakes flew past and 17 Red-throated Divers were on the sea. Gulls were still coming in to roost at dusk, Black-headed now outnumbering Common Gulls by about 7 to 5. 

Passing Herring Gull

As I left at dusk, 13 Whoopers flew north. They might be the last Whoopers I see until the Autumn. 

Last of the Whoopers headed north?