Tuesday, 4 February 2014
Dairy notes for (4th February 2014)– with some earlier notes as well.
A lovely sunny day (4th February 2014), with regular passing white but some fluffy clouds, but warm intermittent between the clouds. A day when some of the birds may have thought! Yes this is it …… chorus time….
Today was the very first day this year for me to hear the Blackbird happily singing away in a fluty bubbling lead to a chorus joined in by many other birds in the close neighbourhood. It certainly wasn’t the best of dawn chorus’s I’ve heard, but most certainly the best and most welcome I have heard for at least ten months.
The Great Spotted Woodpeckers began drumming on the 20th January, and already I have counted no less than 6 pairs, busy with their “echoed” tapping between one another offering different tones between them according to how far away from one another or maybe the thickness of the tree, or how rotten or how solid, but there where certainly subtle differences in the tones of the responsive drumming. These counts were purely taken from the margins of Dalton and so I would guess that up to 10 pairs at least are present just within this small area, that’s the norm count anyway for Dalton.
On arrival at the Trig today, I was very surprised to see and hear a lonesome Meadow Pipit calling from high above the scattered hawthorn bushes. It gave the first impression that it was a resident, but impossible to be sure, after all I was seeing them up here in December and with the “very mild” weather we have had so far its possible the bird has over wintered. It’s usually the end of February or the first week in March that I record returning birds.
Having a chat with Bill who looks after the cattle on Dalton and elsewhere, we were putting the World to rights between us, and soon after he started calling the cattle from afar and when they heard him shouting them “they were off” without any delay to race down to receive their “tit bits” from him.
Over the past few weeks, I have had good counts of “Woodcock” here and there usually disturbed in the margins of the upper pavements on the Common, they are so noisy at take off and give the show away all too often.
As usual Snipe have also been plentiful in the upper Crags, they too are noisy when disturbed climbing high whilst zig-zagging from one side to the other.
Well I have heard Starlings mimicking other birds, but never until today heard one doing the call of a Pied Wagtail whilst sat comfortably on a television aerial. So clear its call with the correct timing etc.
Well it wont be long now before the early Skylarks are coming through, I usually start to get them at around the third week in February.
The toads and frogs will be on their way any day now crossing the roads to find their respective ponds for mating.
I’ve never known it to be so mild before, in fact if we are to have some severe frost, lets have it now and get it over with. I hope and pray it won’t be like last year, when the heavy frost set in from early and right through to the end of March. It was a disastrous episode for the early migrants coming into the Country and just locally we lost 50% of our Chiffchaff breeding stock, bring down the breeding pairs from a regular 34 pairs to 17 pairs.