Sunday 27 April 2014

New arrivals

Spring migrants continue to arrive - those that haven't been needlessly slain in Malta, that is - click here for details of the problem there and what you can do about it. If the Nightingales which return to Dorset to breed in small numbers every year follow a similar route to this one tagged with a geolocator a few years ago, they don't have to go through Malta, so that's at least one peril they don't have to face.
When I lived in Kent we had some healthy colonies nearby and competing males singing almost constantly throughout the day could be almost showy, particularly early in the breeding season. Not so in Dorset, where there are just a few small colonies, and where any view is a good view. An early start took me to one of the traditional sites where an unusually visible male had a melodic duel with a nearby rival.
Not quite the repertoire of a Nightingale, but always nice to hear Yellowhammer
Another male Yellowhammer
Garganey, our only summer visiting duck, is another migrant to get the pulse racing. So a report of three drakes on the patch at Swineham saw me hot-footing it down there last night in a race against the weather and the twilight, which I just about won. Fortunately they weren't on the distant floods which those who saw them insist on calling 'the Stilt pools' (grrr) but on the much closer ones next to the main path.
Female Blackcap
Male Bullfinch
Twitching this trio deprived me of the opportunity to sit poolside in 40 degree temperatures surrounded by the shrill echo of parental encouragement as various children, including my own, performed at a swimming gala. They did well, and while I was sad to dip out on that, I'm sure there will be other opportunities. There were not to be for the Garganey, which had moved on by the time I dragged my own little dabblers back down to Swineham this morning.
Stonechat are well into their breeding routine - this is the male
And this the female
Speaking of new arrivals, we had a couple ourselves today. Not human ones, I hasten to add - even I would have mentioned that higher up the post - para 2 at least. No, I have been under pressure to accede to getting a family pet for some time. I agreed to stick insects but these weren't cuddly enough apparently. A cat was clearly out of the question, and, having stepped in too many of their by-products over the years, so was a dog.
Garganey at Swineham
You wait for ages...
Fearing another veto, the rest of the family decided to not even consult me about the latest acquisitions - and so today arrived a pair of Guinea Pigs, donated by friends who presumably have enough to eat. At least they are quiet, don't need walking, keep the grass to a nice short sward and are sufficiently low maintenance to not get in the way of birding. Plus, being the long-haired variety, they look like they might come in handy when I get home from Swineham and my mud-caked wellies need a shine. In conclusion, about as tolerable as possessing a rodent could be. 

Raptors were also on the wing this weekend around Purbeck - Peregrine
A Buzzard was making off with some kind of rodent. Guinea Pig?
Whitethroat - many now back on territory


No comments:

Post a Comment