Good coverage at the end of April and start of May produced not a lot in the way of new species. First up was a singing Whitethroat (89) on Friday evening 26th April, but not much else on the way down to (or during) a brief seawatch – not surprising in northwesterlies. A sudden, freezing hail-shower did produce some nice rainbows when it ended – and deposited a mini-fall of Wheatears (23+) that hadn’t been there beforehand. Some appeared to be Greenlands, though it was hard to be sure as most were puffed up against the cold.
|Gratuitous rainbow shot, 26th April|
Next morning (27th) I was on a Waterford bird-race team but Brownstown was cunningly scheduled for a few hours in the early morning – surely our best chance of land and sea migrants. 47 species in 3 hours was reasonable (county day-total of 96 – runners-up to the winners with 102), but only Common Tern (90) was new. Other useful species included 3 raptors, Tree Sparrow and Common Scoter, but an hour’s seawatch failed to produce any Manx or skuas (northerlies again). A return to southwesterlies next day (28th) produced a Bonxie and plenty of Manxies, but no newbies apart from hearing of a Brambling in a neighbour's garden a few weeks ago.
|Young male Blackcap, 2nd May|
Surely 5 or 6 days’ coverage from the start of May would produce more? A belated first Sedge Warbler (91) singing by the front-door on Wednesday evening (1st) was a start. But the next few days produced just a trickle of landbird migrants (including the first Blackcap and Willow Warbler ringed here this spring). Seawatches produced occasional Bonxies and Arctic Skuas but still no Poms – I’d been counting on a flock or two this week. Still, the best species since March turned up on the last seawatch - 5 Roseate Terns (92) feeding with small numbers of Commics, Kittiwakes and Manx on the 5th.
|Creeping fog, 2nd May|
Score 92 species and 114 points (78.08%) – but still missing House Martin, Grasshopper Warbler, Swift and Bullfinch (or a major rare) among others.