Friday, 4 May 2012

The weather's not all bad

Unless you suffer from SAD, the continuing trend for cool, wet and overcast weather is nothing but a mild irritant. Yes, it can get you down, but before you know it we'll be basking in a period of unbroken sunshine, high temperatures and a call from the government for drought conditions to be declared (oh, hold on a minute, that's already happened...)

So, where are the positives? Well, it's not a bad time to be out birding. The seawatching has been interesting along the south coast, headlands have been receiving falls of migrants and for the inland patch birder things have been very interesting indeed. Take Beddington Sewage Farm for example.

The local birders there have long known that heavy overcast with an easterly component in the wind (preferably ENE) will bring down passing migrants within the birders vision. Because coverage is good (thanks mainly to Johnny Allan and Peter Alfrey), not much gets missed, and over the last seven days the following selective waders have been recorded on site:

Saturday - Turnstone (1), Bar-tailed Godwit (1), Whimbrel (5), Greenshank (1), Grey Plover (1)
Sunday - Redshank (1), Grey Plover (1)
Monday - Ringed Plover (2) This was a bright day
Tuesday - Whimbrel (1)
Wednesday - Ringed Plover (1), Greenshank (1), Dunlin (5)
Thursday - Ringed Plover (3), Bar-tailed Godwit (2), Redshank (1), Greenshank (4), Dunlin (1), Grey Plover (1)
Friday - so far today Whimbrel (1), Redshank (1), Dunlin (1), Grey Plover (2).

Apart from this waderfest there have been Common Terns, a Ring Ouzel, a Whinchat and plenty of Wheatears (25 today), Yellow Wagtails and hirundines.

So, instead of most of these birds passing overhead high and well out of view, they are having to fly lower - and some even land - to give us land bound beings the chance to witness migration in action. I was there last Saturday and found the experience exciting. It's one of the reasons I bird. With the weather set to continue in this vein, I'm looking forward to a repeat performance tomorrow.

STOP PRESS: 15 Dotterel in a field at Canons Farm this pm :-)

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