So, we have reached the last day of May. Not really the end of spring, neither the beginning of summer, maybe a mash-up of the two. But, for the purpose of this post, let's pretend that we have indeed finished with spring 2015. How was it for you?
For me, in north Surrey, it was a stop-start affair. The weather was largely cool. Largely dry. A few pulses of migration were experienced, but it then stuttered. Nothing really unusual came along. It was all a bit benign, not terribly exciting, birding as if sedated. But I tried. I put in many hours, mostly on foot. It wasn't unenjoyable, but at times it seemed like hard work.
Wheatears had a good passage - the highest counts being 8 at Priest Hill on April 13th and 7 at Mogador two days later. Three splendid Whinchats, two Common Redstarts and two Black Redstarts were welcome. Three Red Kites floated across the air space. A handful of Hobbys. But there were no bonus species - no Ring Ouzels, Groppers, Ospreys, Marsh Harriers... well, not for me at any rate. With all the effort it seemed cruel of the birding God's not to chuck me a small crumb of comfort.
The moths were dire. It wasn't just the Banstead MV that was seldom visited. Recorders the length and breadth of the country wailed about the poor numbers, the late emergence. Plants, too, were well behind with their flowering times.
A week at Dungeness echoed the overall poor spring feeling with no fall or sea watch of even minor note, but did produced two White-winged Black Terns, a Bonaparte's Gull and a Ni Moth. The shingle kingdom did look after me.
The last few days have been wet and cold. Passerine breeding success seems to be poor. I have seen few local Swifts. There seems to be a feeling of loss all around. I'm just hoping that it warms up soon and that our wildlife kicks into a higher gear. On the plus side the local Greenfinches seem to have made a come-back and House Sparrows go from strength to strength with at least three local 'colonies' of 20-50 birds.
No two springs are alike, which, after this one, is just as well.