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Wildlife Blog Apr 2018

Blackcap

Saturday April 28th 2018

I thought I would get out early and avoid the threatened rain, but it was actually dry throughout and a very still morning.   With the leaves on the trees just beginning to come out, it was also the last time I would be able to get a good count of the rookery; the final total being 70 nests (up from 54 last month).   The majority are in the colony above Ramoyle, but a second group of 20 nests are in the south west corner above Holmehill Annexe.   Most nests now have sitting birds, but there were still some Rooks flying in with sticks to build new nests.   The Jackdaws, by comparison seem all well set in ther various holes in the trees nearby.

A male Great spotted Woodpecker was very vocal all morning, drumming on a series of different dead branches, producing a range of different notes, and seemingly unconcerned by my presence watching just below.   A pair of Roe deer were also not too concerned as I approached them in the Braeport meadow, the buck still with his antlers in velvet.   What was missing from the hill though was any Chiffchaffs, the first time I have not recorded singing birds in April.   It seems many of our returning Summer migrants are late this year, but Chiffchaffs have been around elsewhere for a while now, so their absence was a surprise.   It may be that their previously favoured area, the small trees and bushes where the old house once stood, which was flattened a couple of years back is now not so attractive, but hopefully they will re-appear in next month’s survey.   And neither could I find any of the Hawfinches that stayed on the hill over winter, so they have probably moved on.   At least I did find one returned Summer migrant, a male Blackcap singing from the undergrowth near the northern path entry.

Daffodills are still very much out, as are some clumps of Primroses, and I found a few yellow Celandines beneath the trees.   A single clump of Ramsons or Wood Garlic was not yet in flower, and neither is much else, though the emerging pale, translucent leaves of young Elm and Beech trees are very attractive at this time of year.

Click here to see the bird report for April 2018.   Links to all Chris’ blogs, and a note about his survey method, can be found here.

Chris Spray

Image: Wikipedia.   Ron Knight: A male Eurasian Blackcap.   License CC BY 2.0.

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