Week ending 22nd May   Leave a comment

Swallow collecting nest material

The breeding season is well under way. Blackbirds will be on their second broods and starlings and house sparrows will fledge any day soon. Migrants like swallows are building their nests or starting to lay. The fulmars, who started first still have months to go however. They will be lucky to get their chicks off by the end of August. And the Arctic breeding species are still on their way north. On Saturday there was a curlew and a whimbrel feeding side by side in Roome Bay. Both could be on their way to northern Norway to start breeding and so may be “home” in a few days more. Up beyond the Arctic Circle spring will barely be starting. The whimbrel took off strongly and flew north after a few minutes, whistling as it left. Whimbrels make flying look so easy and I think they may be the one of the most capable bird species on the planet. We know they can fly thousands of miles more or less non-stop. One famous satellite-tracked whimbrel covered 3,200 miles in just 6 days. From the tropics to the Arctic in a week. And with a satellite tag on its back. Its flock mates probably wondered why it took so long to come home.

My world champion bird - the whimbrel - it can probably cure a rainy day too

Kilrenny Common is a great place at the moment to appreciate spring passing into summer. The soundscape is the one of the best in the area with both farmland and woodland birds singing side by side. There are also always a few good species to see, whether it is a rare migrant or the resident tawny owls. On Friday it was the tree sparrows. Kilrenny is a very reliable site for tree sparrows in the gardens adjacent to the farmland and on the edge of the wood. Tree sparrows have declined throughout the UK over the last 40 years. They used to be the house sparrows’ common country cousin, but now they are rare in most places. We are lucky to still have them.

The end of the week brought some strong winds with a lively sea on Sunday. You know it must be rough when birds a big as gannets disappear behind the waves as they bank over the sea. There were a lot of manx shearwaters in small flocks passing out of the Forth all day on Sunday, about one a minute.

Posted May 22, 2011 by wildcrail in Sightings

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: