I neglected my birding duties on Easter Monday and went to see Bristol Rovers play instead. In hindsight this was a bad move, not only did we lose but I seem to have missed a good day of local movement.
Chris Knight found a Firecrest near Little Langton, an Osprey was photographed drifting along the Swale and Chris also flushed a possible Jack Snipe from near the famous muck heaps. This latter bird would be a first for my patch (and the parish) so I was keen to see if I could re-find it.
I tried when I got back from the match yesterday but it was almost dark and apart from hearing a handful of Snipe ‘squelch’ away (plus Little Owl and Grey Partridge) it was a fairly pointless exercise. So back early this morning. This time only three (Common) Snipe went up. Around the heaps themselves there were the usual mix of birds with Skylark, Pied Wagtail, Reed Buntings and around a dozen Meadow Pipits.
One of these birds was singing although not doing the usual ‘parachute’ display.
A quick stroll along the river here found two pairs of Teal and another Sand Martin and Chiffchaffs were back in some numbers. I later saw at least half a dozen birds in the Magic Garden alone.
In the early evening I met up with Chris to try once more. Snipe had risen to around ten birds but no Jack unfortunately. Meadow Pipit numbers had really jumped though with 60+ birds now in this field. I assume these are birds heading back to the upland areas of the Dales. A bit of cold weather, particularly with northerly winds, often sees them backing up at this time of year. I have had counts of 200+ birds on occasions and there is then always a chance of Merlin as they follow their prey species up on to the moors.