Saturday, 28 April 2012

One Swallow doesn't make a summer.

A check of the garden moth trap this morning produced the first new species in weeks in the form of a Swallow Prominent. The only other moths caught were 2 Hebrew Characters. Catches have been very poor all month and this is likely to have a significant knock on effect as caterpillar numbers will be lower than usual when many birds are feeding their first broods.

Swallow Prominent (Pheosia tremula)
Didn't bother going out ringing because of the stiff breeze and also because there hasn't been any evidence of warblers arriving in the past week. So I pottered around at home doing a few chores whilst keeping an eye on the garden feeders.

The feeders have been increasingly busy as Starlings have been feeding young for up to a week now. The adults are mainly using the feeders to refuel themselves but clearly take the odd mouth full to feed their young. They love the mixture of very finely chopped peanuts and dripping.

Today was the first day I heard the young Starlings calling from the nest. At least the recent rain has softened the ground and will help the adults when probing for worms and leatherjackets.

Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
A few other species seem to love the chopped peanut and dripping mix when natural sources of food are scarce as appears to be the case with the cold weather this April. The niger is still attracting Goldfinches and Coal Tits continue to cache sunflower seed at every opportunity. I now know why so many sunflowers start growing in my hanging baskets. House Sparrows are also feeding young.
Goldfinches (Carduelis carduelis)
Coal Tit (Periparus ater)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Walked to my ringing site at Longshaw early evening and still no Whitethroats. There will be a spectacular arrival when the weather changes as so many birds are clearly being held up by the weather. With so many migrant warblers yet to arrive it is hard to believe that return migration will start in less than 12 weeks time.

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