Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Deer Ticks, Peckers, Daphne and Other Birds

Wednesday February 20th 2013 - Diary sketch

Wow! It came as a surprise yesterday to find a full adult deer tick well embedded in the upper arm. And again today more ticks comfortably attached in the lower leg regions of my moleskins…
Nothing new about “deer ticks”, I certainly get my fair share of them, especially during the late Summer months, but didn’t really expect to get them on a cold freezing frosty February early morning. 

This morning Peckers (Great Spotted) were going at it! from all directions of Dalton in fact I counted five separate birds drumming their territories which had no less than two hundred yards between each of them.  This was only a very small part of Dalton, so how many can there be throughout.  I might just try and get around and survey the “drumming birds” in the full Dalton area tomorrow.

Prior to two days ago I had not heard any drumming this year and heard my first only yesterday on the edge of Curwen Wood, followed two hours later by a couple more just to the back of Plain Quarry within Dalton Crags. They must be sending their messages “by relay” to one another.

I couldn’t wait any longer I know its nearly the time for “Daphne” (Mezereum), and so decided to trundle my way across the Roof in earnest!  Oh! this year is going to be somewhat special for this species.  I found several of the well established small shrubs, its soon became obvious I was premature with my visit and that I was perhaps up to ten days to early. Still I could witness with amazement the solitary flower presently “open”, yet lots and lots of beautiful red/purple buds, in near readiness for exploding into delicate bloom which together will bring the sweetest of aroma to the fortunate. By the way my wife regular quizzes me for more information wanting to know who Daphne is!! 

Birds really did seem a little subdued this morning with a nil count on any passage birds in the skies.  I can only think that maybe the sudden change back to freezing cold temperatures during the recent nights, have now put a “pause” on the movement of Larks and Pipits coming through, yet would expect this to change after the weekend.

Also today listening so closely for the “little bit of bred and no cheese” and half expecting the Yellowhammers to be back at their sites, but no signs yet.  I was to early because it was 29th February when I recorded them back last year (2012).

Still no signs of the Great Grey Shrike and probably to early, its usually about March when he comes back, but still worth checking out his usual “perches” including his favourite “The Shrike Tree”.

 “Zigzag”  with a “kwa” the Woodcock made his presence again today, as he hastily made his retreat.  I don’t think I can ever remember seeing so many of them.  Every day I seem to be flushing them from the “verges of the pavements” or in between the grassed intermediate broken pavements.  A most beautiful bird