Today I had a day off work, and I started it with an early start to do the early visit for the BTO Breeding Bird Survey at my route near Damflask and Dungworth. The weather was very poor indeed, and I really should have jettisoned the survey, but I really didn’t know when I’d get it done another time (it’s already on the late side of early…).
Not really much to speak of on the walk, bar a few blackcaps, curlews and a nice close-up nuthatch. Due to the drizzle I didn’t get any photos, bar this one of a hare that didn’t seem to notice me.
Apart from that nothing to report except soggy recording sheets, and a sore arse where I fell over on a wet, mossy step.
After popping home to dry off a bit, I decided to follow up some cuckoo reports from the Wharncliffe area. It’s a bit of a bogey for me, as I have no problem getting heard-onlies, but had never actually seen one. One the way I finally picked up my first swift of the year, swooping over Wharncliffe Side, and walking up over to the heath I got a pair of tree pipits, a kestrel, and good numbers of blackcap and willow warbler. I got to Wharncliffe Chase, where more tree pipits were singing, a curlew stood majestically in the scrub, and then a hawklike-shape landed in a tree in front of me, proving to be the first cuckoo of the day! Sadly it took flight just before I got a photo.
Just past Wharncliffe Lodge I got another one, which was singing from the top of a boulder, and sadly I flushed it just as I realised where it was, and at least two (possibly including the one from the boulder) were singing in the nearby plantation.
I had to stop off in Hillsborough on the way back for a few bits and bobs, and decided to pop in to Hillsborough Park to see if I could find the unseasonal waxwings that are still lingering, and after a while of looking I found about ten of them loitering in the trees outside the Sheffield Wednesday ground. There were also at least 6 swifts reeling around above… seeing the two species together was a bit odd. Winter and summer colliding!
I’m having a trip to Spurn tomorrow, I’m very excited and expect a long post when I get back…