Nature Blog Network

Spring migrants

This week the BTO published a graph demonstrating the extreme, core and median arrival times for the common spring migrants.

BTO spring migrant arrivals 640

In comparison the first migrant we saw was the sand martin on March 31 followed by chiffchaff, blackcap and swallow on 3 April and house martin and garden warbler on 10 April. Our chiffchaff was therefore slightly late, the sand martin pretty much bang on and the swallow and house martin and garden warbler on the early side.

We do get winchat, whitethroat and swifts but may see the first two some time after they arrive as numbers are relatively small and the moorland is not. I don't think I've ever seen redstart or turtle doves round here so that would be good if they would put in an appearance.

Thought it was supposed to be spring...

Despite it being almost the middle of April we have been experiencing a pattern of high weather typical of winter with sub-zero temperatures at night and frost on the ground (and cars!) on Tues 5th.

frost 600



early April pressure


early April temp

Although not the coldest night of the month so far, we awoke to snow this morning.

April snow 600

Which brought the tree down…

tree 600

And drowned the dog…

snow mac 600

Big Garden Bird Watch 2021

The RSPB have announced the 'top ten' from the Big Garden Bird watch 2021. They are:

1. House Sparrow
2. Blue tit
3. Starling
4. Blackbird
5. Woodpigeon
6. Robin
7. Great tit
8. Goldfinch
9. Magpie
10. Long-tailed tit

Comparing these with our findings, we had more corvids (4 crows, 4 jackdaws and 2 magpies) and did relatively better for finches (2 chaffinches and 2 bullfinches). On the BGBW day we only had 2 sparrows but usually have 6-7, these have increased in recent years so it's good to be bucking the trend in the nice way. No starlings that day, usually we have 5-6 or so.

Apparently it was a bad year nationally for finches, with Greenfinch and Chaffinch numbers both down. We haven't seen Greenfinches since the trichomonas outbreak a few years ago but Chaffinch numbers have been relatively consistent, albeit low.

The overall figures mask huge changes in bird numbers however and the decline of 'common' birds often isn't noticed until the numbers get very low. Both mallard and herring gull numbers are falling rapidly, but because they are everywhere nobody notices unless people count and report them. Back to gardens however:

Increasing:
long-tailed tit, magpie, goldfinch, great tit, wood pigeon (by a whopping 1029%!), blue tit,

Decreasing:
robin, blackbird, starling (by a similarly whopping 83%), house sparrow

The starling decline is most noticeable round here, there was a starling roost on the trees on Springhill Lane which regularly hosted 70+ birds. The birds have long gone and sadly some of the trees were felled last year as part of the proposed development of the field.

March weather

mmm looks like the rain gauge was blocked after all.

Mar 21 temp

Mar 21 wind

Mar 21 rain