|What's that line in the sky next to the supermoon of 7 April?|
Moth trap lighting up the Ivy-clad Alders whilst listening for migrating sea-ducks.
Like most birders, I've been chomping at the bit to get out and see what spring passage turns up (the M6 Junction 31 bridge-dwelling Osprey was certainly a temptation that I successfully resisted) but instead having to be satisfied with waiting to see what it brings me and, to be honest, it's been rather pleasing.
The garden list during this lock-down period certainly started off well though Siskin and Redwing didn't trouble the scorers. Early April brought us the wonder of noc-mig observations - listening for night-calling birds as they moved through the area on passage. This turned out to be as social an activity birders could get as WhatsApp! and FB groups shared messages of flocks of Common Scoters making their way from the Irish Sea to Scandinavia via the direct route. The lack of cars on the nearby M65 meant I could hear them! Add to them, over-flying Coot (they are on the canal in the centre of Rishton but not up here) and a Water Rail and a couple of calls which I just can't place.
Sunday 5th April was a bit of a mega day, sat for the most part in the conservatory reading, I glanced up at just the right moments it seemed - Red Kite and Sand Martin after lunch and then Raven and a long-awaited Iceland Gull (the juvenile that had been around all winter I presume) was strikingly obvious in the cloud of gulls over Whinney Hill Tip about 2km away through my scope.
|Male Ring Ouzel atop a tree - honestly!|
In the meantime I've been writing my sections of the 2019 Lancashire Bird Report and unsurprisingly finished them in record time, so to celebrate, we took a walk on the north side of Rishton. It was cooler and a lot cloudier than of late as we took the path along the old railway line listening to numerous Blackcaps and the odd Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler. Skylarks sang near the canal - not too common a sound these days in this area - and up Cut Lane to the Reservoir where we had a Whimbrel and two Arctic Terns - wonderful! Add to that, Little Ringed Plovers, Common Sandpipers, Redshanks and Oystercatchers on the strip of 'edge' that has been created as the canal needed topping up due to the lack of precipitation, it's about as good as my local patch can get! Cue another rubbish hand-held phone/binocular video.
The very sunny days have been wonderful for our PV installations with March and April both exceeding the previous best monthly totals in the ten years they've been up. The cool, clear nights with an easterly breeze have meant that mothing has been very poor though Powdered Quakers have had a good season. Bees and Hoverflies have been good but not too many species in the garden - more winter/spring flowering shrubs have been purchase and will be planted out in suitable spots for the coming years.
So we're now in May already with by report-writing done, it's time to practice some new skills on dissecting moths, something that needs to be done to get specific confirmation in a lot of cases. Couple that with the new garden CES ringing scheme (as we're not allowed to go anywhere ringing of course), it should keep me busy whilst my better half continues to work with her schools, helping them through the situation and preparing them for the day they have to fully re-open (few schools are closed and have indeed been open throughout the Easter period) and try and socially distance snotty five-year-olds - it'll be akin to herding cats, never going to happen!
Arctic Terns Rishton Reservoir
|Male Orange Tip|
|A hoverfly - Melanostoma scalare - female|
|Not a wasp, a nomada bee - kleptoparasite of Andrena (mining) bees|