Bird Report - May 2017

It was a nice start to the month when, on the 1st, I had news of a couple of interesting birds down the track to Sandside Bay. I was lucky that the birds were still showing so first the Black Redstart appeared.

Black Redstart

(Black Redstart photo by Gerry Cannon)

I was then delighted to see the Whitethroat almost at the top of the track and posing very well so I had a lovely view of it. These birds were 'firsts' for me. Also flying around were Swallows and a handful of Sand Martins. A Robin and a Wren completed the picture.

Also on the 1st 2 Chiffchaffs and 3 Wheatears were seen in the Lighthouse Quarry Garden.

Quite a lot of Swallows are displaying now, looking for likely nest sites. Nancy Scott reported a couple investigating the byre and is delighted that House Martins have arrived back from their long journey after wintering in Africa. Soon they will start the task of nest-building under the eaves. (I notice House Martins are also present again at the new houses in Toab).

On May 12th during my beached birds survey at Newark I counted at least 100 Ringed Plovers on the beach, then driving down the Oback road I spotted 2 Jackdaws also the inevitable Swallows.

I was at Sandside Bay on the 13th when the rough seas attracted a host of waders - Turnstone, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Sanderling then as I reached the end of the bay near the fish farm there were 8 Knot which was especially nice to see as these birds do not seem to be so common. I also saw my first Bonxie of the season though not, I suspect, the last! As I walked back up the track 2 Linnets flew into one of the bushes, the red breast of the male showing up well.

On a walk down the track from Hacco early in the month I saw a Skylark rising singing its unmistakable tune. Two Wheatears, 5 Hares and 1 Rabbit completed my tally this evening.

I had a most enjoyable - though very windy - walk later in the month down the track to Gritley then up the Geo Road and back home via the main road. Oystercatchers, Redshank, Curlews & Lapwings were very vocal and a few Rabbits entertained me. Just a few Arctic Terns were on the wing and it was lovely to see 2 of the bigger Sandwich Terns overhead. As I neared the bottom of the track there was a small group of young cattle in the field getting much attention from 8 Swallows which were flying round and round. Two landed on the fence post and what a gorgeous close view I had of them.

I wondered if the birds do this as they require mud for nest-building and perhaps associate cattle with mud? Coming back along the main road there was a Wheatear in the field and a Skylark was perched on a wall with a tasty morsel in its beak so obviously youngsters around.

The migrants seem to be a little late arriving this year, maybe due to the cold spring, but keep an eye out as there could be something worth seeing any time soon!

Pauline Wilson