Monday, 6 May 2013

Brownstown slowdown

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.

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