Easter Easterlies put paid to ringing activities

The wind has been stubbornly remaining in the east for much of April and that is not the best direction for mist-netting in my garden. The 'dip' is quite sheltered from even quite strong westerlies but even a hint of a breeze from the east isn't good. So I've had to make do when I can and though I've had a steady trickle of unringed Chaffinches and Goldfinches in the garden, I've only managed to trap a few but enough to know that they're not hanging around.

One of my Redpolls was controlled at Heysham this-morning which is rather nice having ringed and retrapped it twice here between Feb and just over a week ago on April 10th.

Otherwise it's been mothing time with one notable record of a Waved Umber - very scarce in Lancashire, recorded at only a handful of sites before.
Waved Umber
That and a couple of micros were new for the 10km square and good records for the upcoming Moth Atlas. Otherwise it's been the usual stuff - Common/Small/Powdered/Twin-spotted Quakers, Hebrew Characters and Clouded Drabs.

on Friday we had to drop my sister-in-law off at Manchester Airport so had a good excuse to meander back via Dovestone Reservoir above Mossley where a Two-barred Crossbill had been seen. We eventually found the right car-park and heard a few Siskins overhead. After about 10 minutes I heard a Crossbill call and found 'the' bird - a rather handsome first-year male - sitting on top of a larch where it stayed for around 15 minutes singing and feeding. Splendid - I didn't have my camera with me of course.

Yesterday, I had a walk up Langden Valley with my son, Peter, and had a couple of singing male Ring Ouzels, Stonechat, Peregrine and several Willow Warblers and Common Sandpipers. No sign of any Harriers though, nor Wheatears surprisingly. After that it was up to Stocks where Mark had found a Green-winged Teal (the North American cousin of our Teal). We got there, just, as my clutch started to fail. We saw the bird as well as some cracking male Siskins, a couple of Red-breasted Mergansers and 12 Pinkfeet (rather odd) before I headed back to see if we could get the car back home (which we did somehow!).

Today, there have been plenty of birds in the garden - more Siskins and Redpolls overhead - whilst a pair of Jays has taken up residence in the clough at the back of the house. Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and Treecreeper have all been singing. At the Reservoir, a pair of Little Ringed Plovers have got territory and a couple of Common Sandpipiers are present too. Plenty of Swallows and Sand Martins there today along with my first House Martin of the year. Another week and we'll hopefully have a lot more migrants making landfall.

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