Monday, 1 April 2013

Mipits move at last and warblers waiting

It’s becoming quite obvious for me in some cases that our Warblers (Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers) have been held up “somewhere”, and that it’s most probably due to the fact of the recent “long period” of biting cold easterly winds and the presumption of very little in the way of insect feed to sustain them.  Our regular early arrivals are now approximately one week late as I put pen to paper.

Normally the first Chiffchaffs for me would arrive on the 24th or 25th of March.
Strange as it may be, but records have shown that over the past two years the first birds to arrive back have been the same birds or should I say the same places each year for both in the case of the Chiffchaff and the Willow Warbler species, eg in the case of the Chiffchaff, my first birds back in both 2011 (on the 24th March) and 2012 (on the 25th March) were the birds at “Thornleigh” in Burton In Kendal.  And In the case of the Willow Warbler, my first birds back in 2011 were two singing birds towards the bottom of Burton Fell on April 4th, and the first Willow Warblers back in 2012 were on Good Friday April 6th again at the very same place on Burton Fell.

Two years on the trot to be the early bird (s)!  But not just in one species, but two! I would have thought statistically the odds on this would be most unlikely but thankfully the records bear the facts. I am not a betting man, but I am sure even William Hill’s would find it difficult to accept bets that the first birds to arrive back here in 2013 would again be at Thornleigh or subsequently Burton Fell! We shall see!!

Also this year the (Mipits) Meadow Pipits are also late in crossing over or settling down into their upland territories. Usually I am getting my first birds crossing over Hutton Roof by the end of the first week in March and continuing to build in numbers through to mid April.

This year although odd birds did attempt to come through about the middle of March, this all stopped when the snow returned and the frost struck with vengeance and the weather conditions deteriated with constant biting cold easterlies, which have kept coming each day.

So virtually the skies have been empty of mipits, that is up until four days ago (March 29th).  Since then the winds have remained cold easterlies, but have slightly reduced in strengths, plus the sun has been getting through a little bringing the temperatures up to say a 5 or 6 degrees centigrade at best, but the ground still remains pretty hard.

So Mipits are now coming through but!!  I wonder if they are coming back North,  in the main by the coastal corridor routes clutching to the lower ground with very few coming back directly over the higher contours.  The reason I say this is that Seumus down in Fleetwood had over 1000 birds through “his patch” yesterday morning, whilst I on the other hand only had maybe a score or so in over a couple of hours recording at Hutton Roof.   And may I add that most of the birds I did have were coming through on the lower sections of Dalton Crags. 

Monday April 1st 2013  0900hrs -  1030hrs 
Now off out up Hutton Roof to check the position today, will report back later. 

I had a late skein of "Pink Feet" going over the West side of Hutton Roof.  The only thing beside this were three Meadow Pipits fighting side on Easterley winds and heading back South. Checked out all HR West Side for Warblers including: Lancelot and Burton Fell, but certainly none making there presence known.

Tuesday and Wednesday April 2nd and 3rd 2013 (0900hrs - 1030hrs) both days
(Tuesday) Small numbers of Mipits going through North but have increased on recent days to perhaps 50 per hour. Also 4 Pied Wagtails heading out East.
(Wednesday) Still strong bitterly cold North Easterlies coming over the Roof, but Mipit numbers have took a dive yet again with only about 10 birds seen over a hour.  Also a couple of Siskin heading North and Wagtails. Also the first day I have noticed birds back on territory with the odd Mipit flying up and parachuting down everytime a bird went closeby to the Trig Point.

Thursday April 4th 2013. (0900-1100hrs)
Mipit passage over Dalton was down to maybe down to 5 birds per hour, even gone back on yesterday, but again much colder today with the biting North Easterlies. Also reliably informed that about 50 Mipits where being held up further down near Dalton Hall, obviously blogging and waiting for their moment to recommence their migration North. Again odd Siskin moving over Dalton. 

Friday April 5th 2013 (0900-1030hrs)
Mipits going through but only about 10 per hour. Again freezing cold heavy North Easterlies.