Latest news from Carr Vale is that on the 18th an adult Whooper Swan arrived around 0830 but it only stayed a short while and had departed just after 0900 (one was present at Ogston at mid-day so I wonder if it was the same bird). Also on 18th the female Goosander and two Common Chiffchaffs. On 19th it was good to note that the four site rarities were all still present with on the embankment two Common Chiffchaffs, (one singing), the singing Siberian Chiffchaff and the Marsh Tit all seen in the morning whilst an evening visit produced at least one calling Cetti’s Warbler for the first time since 5th Feb. Also on 19th 138 Wigeon equalled the highest count of the winter, 20 Tufted Ducks (highest count of the year), two female Goosanders, two Water Rails calling at dusk, two Oystercatchers and 120 Fieldfares (highest count of the year). On 20th the bird of the day was a juvenile Iceland Gull that dropped down in the vicinity of Longcourse Farm whilst other notables included three female Goosander, Oystercatcher and both the Marsh Tit and Siberian Chiffchaff. Over the previous weekend on the 16th the female Goosander, both races of Chiffchaff and a Siskin were seen whilst on 17th nine Grey Lag Geese, 133 Wigeon, 25 Gadwall, 30 Teal, two female Goosanders north, 55 Golden Plover, Oystercatcher, a Peregrine that took a Golden Plover and three Common Chiffchaffs were recorded. One bit of late news concerned the sighting of both Barn and Tawny Owls on 14th February.
End of week / weekend update. On 21st 135 Wigeon, three Goosanders (two south), Grey Partridge (at least one calling, we only had two records of this species last year), four Water Rails calling, 35 Snipe counted out at dusk, Oystercatcher, Barn Owl, Tawny Owl and a singing Chiffchaff. On 22nd 22 Gadwall, pair of Goosanders south, a Little Grebe new for the year, 11 Common Buzzards, two Oystercatchers, three Tawny Owls calling, a singing Chiffchaff and a Siskin north. Bird of the day on 23rd was a male Stonechat, the earliest ever spring record (previous earliest being 1st March although there is one winter record on 30th January 2015) and other records for that date were 133 Wigeon, 35 Teal, three red-head Goosanders, an Oystercatcher, 1000 Black-headed Gulls, two Peregrines, two Ravens, Marsh Tit, the Siberian Chiffchaff and two Common Chiffchaffs (one singing). A Fox also crossed the reserve. On 24th three Shoveler were fresh in, two red-head Goosanders, two Oystercatchers, two Kingfishers, Marsh Tit, four Common Chiffchaffs and the Siberian Chiffchaff all in the same tree, the Marsh Tit, 40 Redwings (highest count this year), 11 singing Song Thrushes (highest count ever of singing birds I think) and 24 Yellowhammers.
25th February was more like mid May and produced my first butterflies of the year, male and female Brimstone, the male looking particularly splendid in the bright sunshine. 25th was a good mornings birding and whilst the first Redshank of the year (89th species for the month and 93rd of the year, best ever figures are 90 and 96, so looking good) was nice the flock of nine Whooper Swans heading north the highlight of the day, for me at least. Wigeon numbers were well down at 52 and I wonder if the extraordinary mild weather has prompted an early departure but Teal at 44 was the highest count of the month. Three Shoveler (two males first seen on 24th) were still present as were the two red-head Goosanders, five Cormorants including a pair displaying (first time I’ve seen display at CV), two Oystercatchers, 162 Lapwings, a Raven over, the Siberian Chiffchaff and four Common Chiffchaffs. A good mornings birding.