Birdlife In Deerness - April 2014
It's nice to see the lighter nights with us once more and spring heralds more birds visiting our shores, while others leave for their breeding quarters.
Geese will be leaving this month but I was interested to see a flock of about 100 in the field next to Russell & Alison Aitken's new house on the Geo Road. Closer inspection found 60 Greylags but also about 40 Pinkfooted Geese.
Another bird soon to be departing is the Golden Plover and it was a magnificent sight in the field opposite Seatter with approximately 800 making themselves at home.
A walk at Newark Bay was accompanied by a singing Skylark while 5 Redshanks and plenty of Oystercatchers searched for food. I counted 3 Pied Wagtails and, looking out to sea, I saw 6 Long-tailed ducks swimming quite close to the shore.
Another day I had a walk down the track at Gritley; once again Skylarks were singing and Curlews made their distinctive burbling call. There was a flock of Lapwing, 2 Oystercatchers and about 100 Golden Plovers. Three more Pied Wagtails also Meadow Pipits were darting about the fencing as I progressed.
At Sunnybank we have been visited by a variety of birds, with 2 Redwing in the front field. A male and a female Chaffinch were pecking around the back lawn, then I was delighted to briefly see a Goldfinch but this was soon on its way again. Our regular Greenfinches were there of course plus a Wren, and a Robin has been present for a few days. I scatter a few Sunflower seeds daily and find that these certainly attract the finches. We have even been known to have Hawfinches at this time of year but not this April so far.
Watch out for Wagtails, Wheatears, Meadow Pipits, also there will be rarer birds passing through the parish now.
Birds reported in Deerness recently are: St. Peter's Pool: 56 Bar tailed godwits (a good few in summer plumage),1 Black tailed godwit with them;22 knot (some changing plumage)
East Denwick Plantation 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Robin, 1 Song Thrush and a Redwing. A male Stonechat was along the track to the Gloup. A Wheatear along the road to Newark Bay. Photo of Wheatear by Ian Cunningham.
Mull Head Visitor Centre saw a Goldcrest in the bushes, and 2 Shelduck were in a nearby field; 20 fast-flying Snipe along the road to the Gloup.
I was pleased to hear about the Stonechat as this bird was almost wiped out in the bad winter of a couple of years ago. The photo of the Stonechat is by Ian Cunningham.
So there are plenty of birds out there for us all to see just now.
Bird Report March 2014
Paying a visit to Newark Bay to do a beached birds report I was faced with an apparently empty beach, but how wrong can you be as a closer look quickly revealed plenty of activity. Heading over the water were 60 Lapwing - a nice sighting of these handsome birds. I was soon aware of a Skylark singing from one of the fields and, looking seawards again, two Greater Black-backed Gulls were taking a dip. In the distance I could see 25 Oystercatchers on the beach near the slip. Making my way further along I came across 2 Hooded Crows poking amongst the tangles and almost missed the few Rock Pipits which were well camouflaged pecking around. Unusually, there was a lone Turnstone at the water's edge. I disturbed a Pied Wagtail which flew off towards the sea. Following its path I noticed several Common Gulls on the water also 5 Long-tailed Ducks. Heading back along the path there were 2 Greylag Geese in Russell's field.
Signs of spring are now obvious - bonny Celandines are starting to flower; we have Frogspawn in the garden pond; the grass is growing.
Many birds will be busy making nests (in fact Ravens will already be feeding young). I noticed one of our resident Starlings carrying nesting material (photo of Starling nest by Pauline Wilson) and the Greenfinches are now resplendent in breeding plumage.
I have heard my first Skylark of the year here at Sunnybank; a Robin and a Songthrush have been present for a few days; a few early Pied Wagtails are now to be seen.
Other sightings from around the parish include a Merlin which was making its presence felt; 500 Golden Plovers were reported on the mud at St. Peter's Pool; there are still plenty of Greylag Geese in the fields - a notable flock near Grind was present for a few days and I saw several in a field while I was heading down to Sandside. I suspect we'll be seeing these birds for a couple of weeks yet.
In spite of the improving temperatures, garden birds will still be happy to visit feeders so please continue to put out peanuts, seed, apples to help them through the busy breeding season.
Birdlife in Deerness - February 2014
This unusual bird was spotted locally this month - read Pauline Wilson's regular monthly bird report to find out its identity!
Feb 2014 Bird Report