Saturday, 12 March 2011

The Right Image

Apparently not a popular turn of phrase in some quarters, but today’s ‘search image’ was for three species, Sand Martin flitting around overhead, Ring Ouzel sitting out in a field and Redpoll (Lesser, Mealy I’m not fussy) calling or maybe even singing from a stream-side tree.

The only things flitting around were Greenfinches, doing their Butterfly display flights. I have been fooled too many times in previous March’s, thinking I have spotted the years first Sand Martin to fall for that one again.

Sadly all of today’s Ouzels were of the strangely common melanistic ‘black-breasted’ variant and no ‘Polls of any sort sang.

What I did see however were Song Thrushes; calling, singing and flitting, even doing all three at once in the case of one bird.

I had quite a number, including 5 territorial males in just a couple of hundred yards in the North-east corner of the marsh, a real turnaround from a few years ago when you could easily not see one on the whole patch in a year.

The songs were remarkably variable too with a fair bit of mimicry thrown in. One thing that did surprise me was seeing one individual fly a circuit of about 300-400m whilst singing. Maybe it’s me but I didn’t know they did that. Do I just not see enough Song Thrushes? Is it usual behaviour? Or is it something to do with overcrowding locally?

In other news, Jackdaws have moved in to the Southern part of the patch, I am getting them daily now, and very welcome they are too, unlike their larger cousins. They certainly look keen to breed; I have seen them prospecting likely looking chimney pots nearby.

PW

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