Wednesday, 9 March 2011

spring's beginnings

spring is well and truly on the way now.

following on from the Bar-tailed Godwits moving over the house for several days, on 27 February, at about midnight, I heard a flock of Brent Geese move over. Another pretty impressive garden tick, and definitely migrating birds, although they tend to move along the sea.

Along with that, Common Frogs, Common Toads and Smooth Newts are out in force in the pond in our back garden. Daffodils have sprung up everywhere the past fortnight or so, and other flowers have included Violets along the end of our road. In town, birdsong is everywhere, and Herring Gulls are displaying on many of the rooftops.

On 5 March I went to Pett Pools with a friend, although due to their mobility issues it was mostly car-birding for us. We got great views of Turnstone(some feeding within 10 feet of the car), Snipe, Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Teal, Curlew, Lapwing, Dunlin, Redshank and Shoveler on the roadside pools, and offshore were several hundred Great Crested Grebes, and 7 Common Scoter flew east then west again. Driving back to Seaford, we got a truly brilliant view of a Sparrowhawk, as it zipped accross the road in pursuit of a clearly injured Song Thrush, that had seconds previously half-ran falf-flew in front of our car in a desperate bid to escape. Sadly for the thrush to no avail, we watched the sprawk lift off from the roadside with the bird's limp body clasped in it's talons.

the following day I took a walk over the downs to Denton. The highlights were a Merlin, giving as good as it got with a far larger accompanying Buzzard, and a Grey Partridge, flushed from some set-aside on one of the smaller and more unobtrusive paths I explored. Along this path I also found the breast feathers of another Grey Partridge, taken by some predator. Maybe a Fox, or a Peregrine, or perhaps even the Merlin.

However, despite the wonderful weather, migrants have been hard to come by. But Sussex recorded it's first Wheatear and Little Ringed Plover of the spring today, so maybe, if I pray hard enough, this weekend will deliver the goods?

sorry for the lack of photos today, but my Dad nicked my camera to hopefully go photograph STELLER'S EIDER in Estonia over the past few days. But I'll leave you with an old image, one of the toads in our garden pond last March.
aside from my parents, the wartiest inhabitant of our property 


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