Night Flight

Bird News: Ibsley Watersand martin 1, black-tailed godwit 10, dunlin 1, black-necked grebe 2 (reported).                   Woodland – brambling 1.

It’s official, Spring is here! Well at least the first sand martin has arrived. I was scanning, unsuccessfully for the black-necked grebes, when there it was, my first sand martin of the year flitting about over the water. I searched around for more but there was no sign, perhaps one swallow does not make a summer, but maybe one sand martin at least indicates spring. During my look around the lake I also came across a pair of redshank, 10 black-tailed godwit and a single dunlin.

Although sand martins are usually thought of as daytime migrants they will move at night as well, I have often seen them arriving in off the sea sat first light when I have been sea-watching in the spring. The night had been clear and calm, ideal for migrants, with a clear view of the stars for navigation and no risk of being blown off course. Opening the Ivy North hide there was no sing of any bittern and none were seen all day apparently. They may not have all left, but I would be pretty certain the big male bird that has been just to the east of the hide has now gone. Bitterns do habitually migrate at night and they will be wanting to get back to their nesting areas at the earliest opportunity if spring really is here.

So no pictures of bittern and the sand martin was too small, too far away and much too fast in any case, so instead I have a fine adult grey heron perched in a dead tree beside the Ivy Silt Pond.

grey heron

The woodland was alive with lesser redpoll today, but there were surprisingly few siskin compared to recent days, there was, however, a very fine male brambling, which visited the feeders at the Centre car park and Woodland hide. I suspect the finches are on the move as well, so we can probably expect some more over the next week or two.


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