Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Spring Catch Up

It has been an interesting spring so far, with the majority of summer migrants arriving early, although Whitethroats and Garden Warblers seem to be lagging a bit behind on Leith Hill.  Willow Warblers have come in in good numbers, but it seems that a number of them have gone against their usual rule of doing a full moult in Africa before returning and instead have many old feathers remaining.  Not sure what this means, but certainly something for the ornithologists to think about....!  The first Cuckoo also arrived on Leith Hill really early, 7th April, way ahead of the BTO satellite tracked Cuckoos who were still in Africa at the time.

Some of the winter visitors seem to have remained for a bit longer than normal with Redwings and Redpolls still present on 14th April and at least two Brambling still present today.  The female Two-barred Crossbill has also started to reappear more regularly at Leith Hill, but still very elusive.

Today also saw the first three fledged Siskins of the year, which is the earliest date I have ever had them (never in April before), and also did my first nest ringing of two Tawny Owl chicks (photo above) and two Blackbird chicks.

Not long now before Nightjars arrive...!

The start of a Leith Hill Tower Migration Watch this spring by a select few has also produced a few unusual species for Leith Hill, such as Sand Martin, Little Grebe and Tufted Duck and hopefully will produce more to come and give more of an idea as to the species that pass through.  Being the highest point in the south-east and a prominent landmark we are hopeful of it bearing fruit.