Monday, May 25, 2009

Where Have All The Swallows Gone?

I've just spotted two swifts and two house martins flying over the house. It's coming up to the end of May and the hirudines are few and far between. No swallows, no house martins and no swifts until today.

Where have they all gone?

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Nightingales at Pulborough - part 2

A fabulous evening over at Pulborough last night. Got there early afternoon so I could take a walk round the reserve and spend some time in the hides rather than the quick whizz round I did yesterday.

Plenty of warblers around including a nightingale heard and seen in the picnic area - out in full sight and a lovely view of a garden warbler. Several lesser whitethroats around and the occasional chiff-chaff and willow warbler.

Wrapped up warm this time for the evening's nightingale watch and down at the Hanger this evening. Pleased with that as it's where the nightingales seemed to be performing best last night.

Early on the evening after listening attentively, we finally heard one singing again in the picnic area and again out in full sight ... if you could work out which part of the tree it was sitting in and pick out the small brown blob. Luckily there was a group of twenty or so people who heard it but as the next group turned up it stopped singing and dropped down into the bushes.

Back to the Hanger which was now getting busy and the occasional phrase from a couple of nightingales every now and then, just to tease us without ever really get going. There was a blackbird up in the trees overhead singing it's head off and they were also competing with robins and song thrush. At least people could get views of the snow geese and the pair of mandarin that were out there. We were also treated to a pair of reed buntings, while scanning the bushes for nightingales.

Two pipestrelle bats came out at dusk and were swooping under the trees over our heads. Just as it started to get dark, they all started up again for a brief final burst before going quiet.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Nightingales at Pulborough - part 1

A lovely hot, sunny day and hopes for a good evening listening to nightingales at Pulborough. I arrived in time to have a quick whizz round the reserve to catch sight of the snow geese which had turned up there earlier. They were out on the back of the brooks - smaller than I'd expected but distinctive, totally white birds with black wing tips. Several gadwall and a pintail out on the pools and plenty of woodland birds around.  I heard a nightingale but didn't see it.

For the evening's Nightingale festival I was with a group near the pools at the bottom of the slope.  Visitors were being given a short talk before being taken on to the reserve to listen and hopefully see the nightingales. It got gradually colder during the course of the evening and we heard radio reports of nightingales calling around the reserve but other than the start of a song we didn't have much luck where we were.  We finished off once it got dark and the birds had gone quiet.