Saturday 18 April 2020

Lockdown Birding: Hanging in there

So, birding these days consists of what I can see in my small back garden, from my office window - which is actually my son's bedroom window! - on a short pre-breakfast dog walk by the River Ouse at Bishopthorpe and then once or twice a week, a cycle ride over to Acaster Airfield. In addition, I keep an eye out when doing essential work for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust which is limited currently to checking livestock at a couple of sites, to make sure they are safe and healthy. I am sad not to be able to see how birds are responding to the habitat creation works we have done at a number of our sites over the winter. Hopefully we will get a pleasant surprise when we can go back out later on.

I miss visiting Wheldrake Ings particularly as April is one of the best months for the site. However, the anticipation of what I might see when I finally return keeps me going.

Meanwhile, I have been immersing myself in the local birds and wildlife, enjoying every new spring migrant as it arrives (Whitethroat this morning for instance) or first sighting of a butterfly, bee or moth for the year, and getting to know my immediate area much better. I have discovered a regular spot for Little Owls and I see them most mornings now. A real treat. I haven't yet jammed in on a Ring Ouzel or Redstart, but there is still time and this northeasterly wind holds promise.

Curlew- a pair is present just south of Bishopthorpe. Their evocative bubbling calls are a joy to hear first thing in a morning.

Today, between bouts of poring through the scarce bird records for the York area bird report 2019, I am skywatching from Sol's bedroom window. So far, 17 Fieldfares have flown east - maybe the last I will see this spring? - a few local Buzzards and Sparrowhawks have been circling around and a Tree Sparrow has flown west. No Osprey yet, but I will keep up my vigil. Stay safe everybody, and enjoy your local wildlife. Don't worry about what you are missing and enjoy getting a bit closer to the common stuff.

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