Thursday, 21 April 2011

Signs of Improvement

We spent the night with my brother-in-law in Tønsberg which gave us the chance for a walk around Ilene which is another shallow bay area. Lots of gulls loafing around on the mud flats at low tide and amongst them my first Redshank of the year although there were surprisingly few waders with just 4 Redshank and a handful of Lapwing and Oystercatcher. I have still to see a Snipe or Curlew this year! The tringa waders should start appearing next week and with peak numbers in the second week of May.
Also to be seen was a fine Osprey which slowly drifted over our heads causing mayhem amongst the gulls. Ducks were in short supply but a pair of Pintail were a nice addition to the year list and on the passerine front a pair of Wheatear were also new for the year.

In the afternoon we visited my brother-in-law's in laws (is there an official name for them?) who live on a small farm with some ponds on the land. The ponds were full of frogs and toads although only the frogs had laid spawn yet. Incidental birding was quite productive with Raven, Buzzard and Swallow over the farm and singing and nest building Marsh Tits (I recognised the song this time), a pair of Hawfinches, Chiffchaff and Dunnock. I was told Red backed Shrikes breed by the farmhouse and Wrynecks have been present in some years. I think I will be looking for an excuse to visit later in the year!
Butterflies were also showing well with (Common?) Blue, Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell and a Camberwell Beauty being the ones I could identify.

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