Sunday, 1 May 2016

whilst it was dry...

I usually leave my early BBS vist to late April/early May, to give the migrants time to get in.  So I set of in the dim half light this morning to complete my transects. I'm not sure it was worth it, with my lowest total, species and number of birds ever. With no Wheatears recorded since 2012, they are clearly no longer a breeding species in my square, I would suggest this is mainly down to the fact that the area they used to breed in is becoming over grown with scrub, many of the trees getting about 2-3m tall. The encroachment of scrub probably accounts for the lack of Stonechat - today was my first "blank" visit for the species - was 3-4 prs breeding when I started the transects 11 yrs ago -, and the big drop in Meadow Pipit and Skylark numbers. Migrants were pretty thin on the ground.

I did get one tick - a Spruce Carpet Thera britannica, when I did a visit under the heronry (only one chick fell from the nests thus year).

 The walk did brighten up, however. Just as the rain started, I heard a Wood Warbler sing, and quickly got onto it. Singing WO - spring has finally arrived.

My pan listing total for the year, as of yesterday evening, was 408. Missing lots of insects....lets hope May warms up.


  1. Did my 1st visit to my square near Pontllanfraith today too. Pretty much your usual farmland with rural settlements. Almost drew a blank on Greenfinch (for the first time since I started in 1980), but managed to find a pair in my final transect. I used have breeding Lawping in the square and recorded Curlew there annually for a few years. Both species now long gone. On the plus side, I did have better than average numbers of our common birds this year: Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Wren, Blue and Great Tits etc. The mild weather has led to a higher survival rate this winter?

  2. Numbers of Skylark and Meadow Pipits were down on the two upland BBS squares Martin and I do. Martin wondered whether the cold conditions were perhaps forcing them to forage at the expense of display, thus making them less obvious at a distance.

  3. I did wonder if the cold weather might be playing a part

  4. Dan, Greenfiches seem to be making a bit of a comeback around this area. I'm recording them most times i'm out over the last month or so.

  5. Glad to hear your Greenfinch numbers are picking up Martin. Just noticed in my earlier post that I'd claimed to be doing the BBS since 1980!! That should ready 1998. I think the BBS started in 1996 and I was only 2 years old in 1980!! ;-) *cough*