1st May

A lazy start to the morning turned out to be for the best as numbers have dwindled significantly since mid-week. This does not, however, mean that there were not birds out there to be found. The species du jour was Turtle Dove with one at Reap Lane and later the same or another visiting a garden pond at Sweethill. The variety of the past few days remained, with a good spread of grounded Willow Warblers and another strong throughput of Swallows, together with single figure tallies of White and Yellow WagtailPied and Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, Redstart, Black Redstart, Sedge Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat and Garden Warbler. Grounded waders included 112 Dunlin, 11 Bar-tailed Godwits, 3 Sanderling, 2 Grey Plovers and a Whimbrel at Ferrybridge.

Visitors to the blog might have noticed we rather obsess over Bar-tailed Godwits at this time of year: there's something quite gripping about the sight of a succession of distant smoky flocks of them passing up-Channel way off the Bill and the back story that some of them might be making a three day direct flight from Mauritania to Holland is something that's always caught our imagination. Thanks to keen eyes and sharp lenses we can also now marvel at the fact that at least some of them have come from even further than Mauritania: this colour-ringed and flagged bird at Ferrybridge on 23rd April was originally marked at the Bijachos Archipelago in Guinea-Bissau on 25th November 2019 as part of a continuing study into their feeding ecology both there on the wintering grounds and at the staging point on the Wadden Sea © Peter Coe (top) and Debby Saunders (bottom): 

The colour-rings on a second individual at Ferrybridge a couple of days later enabled it to be identified as a bird from the same project but unfortunately it had lost the flag that would have allowed individual identification and hence date of marking © Pete Saunders:

Today's Turtle Dove at Sweethill © Debby Saunders

Reap Lane and Barleycrates Lane have been favoured migrant hotspots this spring with Black and Common Redstarts (including this paradoxus male Black Redstart) featuring there on an almost daily daily basis just lately © Pete Saunders