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April 2007

1st, Bratt Wood - A pleasant walk in Bratt wood this morning on a fine spring day. Three Chiffchaffs were heard in the wood, and at the top of the wood a Marsh Tit was observed. The spring flowers are now coming out, with Primroses, & Violets seen in good condition. The Ramsons are now growing, and though not in flower yet, they are nevertheless producing decent scent. A few butterflies were also seen this morning.

3rd - The female Blackcap was seen in the Berberis today.

4th - A Brimstone butterfly seen in the garden today, and I also saw my first Hoverfly of the year. The Chiffchaff is still around, and I also heard a Sparrowhawk calling at one point.

5th - A lovely spring dawn this morning, with a slight mist and frost. A Barn Owl seen along Shepherds Lane, a fox in the southern most Parks field, a singing Chiffchaff in the Plantation, a single Redwing along Long Lane, Linnets, and displaying Meadow Pipits in the fields added to the beauty of the morn. In the garden during the afternoon, with temperatures up to 19 C, I saw my first Red tailed Bumble Bee of the year.

6th - Went down to Swinemoor on this Good Friday morning. Loads of Golden Plovers seen, with at least six hundred, some of which are now in full breeding plumage. Meadow Pipits also displaying. The floods on Swinemoor are now rapidly receding, for just 2.8 mm’s of rain have been recorded in the last seventeen days.

8th, Far Ings Reserve - Dad and I left early this morning (5.45 am) in the hope of hearing the Bitterns booming. We did hear one but it called very irregularly and not particularly loud, but still it was good to finally hear what these elusive birds are famous for. Elsewhere around the reserve were a few Chiffchaffs, and we also had a brief view of a drake Smew flying over one of the lagoons. However the big highlight of the morning was the sighting of my first Swallow of the year, with up to five spotted over the reserve. A nice bit of early morning birding.

9th - The Hawthorn has really come out over the past week, and is now really quite green. Other trees in green include Horse Chestnuts, Field Maples, & Larch, and most hedgerows are now a fresh green.

12th - Saw my first Swallow of the year here in Beverley Borough, with two seen at the top of Shepherds Lane. I also heard my first Willow warbler of the year, with two singing down at the Parks Plantation. In the garden I saw my first Blue butterfly of the year, and I also observed another Brimstone.

13th - A foggy start to the day.

14th - The Dunnocks are nesting above my garden this year, and I have seen them taking in nesting material for the past few days now. The Wood Pigeons are also possibly thinking about building a nest in the Ivy too. The House Sparrows have also returned to the garden as is customary at this time of year. In the garden beds the tulips are now at their best, indeed even a few have now finished. Cowslips at their peak, whereas the Anemones, Violets & Daffodils are now well on the way out, though the Scented Daffodils are still going strong. The Crab Apple blossom is coming out, and will probably be fully out within a week, though already it makes a beautiful picture. The Sycamores have leafed in the past week, and the Swedish Whitebeam is just starting to unfurl some leaves. The local Horse Chestnuts are now in full leaf, and back in the garden the Snowbush is now in flower by the greenhouse. Also seen today was a Mining Bee, the first of the year, drawn out by the very warm sun today which saw temperatures up to 19.7 C.

15th - Very warm again, up to 22.7 C.

North Cave Wetlands - Spring continues apace as we visited this fine little reserve, with my first Whitethroat of the year, along with sightings of Sand Martins, and a Speckled Wood butterfly. Around the reserve four types of warblers were seen or heard, with Willow warblers, Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, & Whitethroats, and five species of butterfly were seen, including Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells, Whites, Speckled Wood, & Brimstones. Wildfowl numbers now well reduced, with the Wigeon and Pochards now not present. The Avocets are still here, with about fifteen, and there were also fifteen Oystercatchers, and four to five Ringed Plovers. A few Redshanks & Curlews also still about. Along with the Sand Martins a lone Swallow was also recorded. A great mornings birding on a fine and warm day with 46 species seen.

17th - No recordable rain has been measured for over fifteen days now, meaning that technically were in an Absolute Drought.

18th - A Speckled Wood was seen in the garden today. Further lack of rain means that were now in an official Partial Drought, with just 2.8 mm’s in the last twenty nine days at an average of 0.09 mm’s a day.

19th - A Heron flew over Long Lane this morning, and a lone Swallow was also seen. The Linnets are very bright now, and in pleasantly good evidence with at least ten seen along the lane. Willow warblers heard in the Parks Plantation.

20th - Water levels on Swinemoor are now well reduced, with just a few small areas of open water left. Still a dozen or so Golden Plovers about, as were a few Redshanks. Displaying Lapwings were also seen, as were hunting Swallows, and a couple of Willow warblers. In the garden the Chiffchaff was seen a number of times, and was even seen having a drink and a bath.

22nd, Bempton Cliffs - Visited our nearest seabird colony for the first time this year on a bright if not particularly warm day. The cliffs are already very busy and full of activity, the sights and sounds (and indeed smells) of these wonderful cliffs are something never forgotten. All the usual suspects were in residence, with Razorbills & Kittiwakes at the top, the Guillemots dominating the steep cliff face, the Gannets on the wider ledges, the Puffins here and there, and the Fulmars cruising effortless along on the breeze. Also seen in the area were Swallows, Linnets, Yellowhammers, Meadow Pipits, Skylark, & Reed Buntings, and in the car park a Willow warbler was heard. A fine morning and no doubt the first of many trips here this year.

23rd - A Willow warbler and a Blackcap were singing in bushes on the edge of Figham this morning. Indeed it was so pleasant I stopped for a few minutes just to listen to the natural serenade.

24th - Heard my first Riverside Warbler of the year along the River Hull, and I’m fairly confident that I heard both Reed’s & Sedge’s. I also saw my first House Martin of the year. At Figham Pastures I saw three Tufted duck’s fly over, and I also heard good numbers of Willow warblers throughout the local area. On the Beck I saw my first ducklings of the year, where the Hawthorn’s are beginning to blossom. In the garden I heard a singing Blackcap, and I also spotted a Swallow over the area, the first I’ve seen from the house this year.

25th - Heard a Cuckoo this morning in the Parks, the first I’ve ever heard in Beverley Borough and most welcome. In the garden I heard a Willow warbler at one point, and three Swallows were also spotted.

26th - A Cuckoo was heard again this morning in the Parks, and I could actually see it atop a tree in the distance. A Whitethroat was seen at Keldmarsh, the first of the year. Two Greylag geese seen out in the fields near Black House Stables, and a good number of Linnets were in evidence along the lane. The Parks plantation was full of Willow warbler song too, with at least six individual birds heard. Also seen this morning was a Sun Dog to the south of the rising sun.

27th - Two Sedge Warblers and a single Reed Warbler were seen along the river Hull, and out on Swinemoor there were approximately twenty or so Golden Plovers. I think they are of the northern race, but I’m not confident of this fact. Despite the very little areas of water now on the pastures, three Shelducks were seen.

28th - Saw my first Swift of the year, with one bird seen over the town, and it was even heard screeching. The local Horse Chestnuts are now in blossom, whereas the Crab Apple is now nearly finished. The Apple tree is also now covered in flowers. The Beech trees starting to unfurl their leaves, and in the garden the Clematis on the rose arch, and in the hedge next door, is now fully out and looking wonderful.

29th, North Cave Wetlands & Nettledale - Had a pleasant walk around North Cave this morning, though it was cloudy and a little cool. However nature is now full of life, and on the lagoons the Avocet numbers have risen to thirty five. A couple of Black tailed Godwits were also seen, along with Ringed Plovers, & Oystercatchers. The Shelduck numbers are not as great as they were, and indeed wildfowl has continued to reduce in numbers and variety as summer begins to arrive. A good number of Swallows, & Sand Martins observed, and also the odd Swift, and other seasonal sightings included a number of Whitethroats, & Willow warblers. In the reeds we heard our first Reed & Sedge Warblers of the year here at North Cave, a most pleasant and welcome sound, the sound of lazy days by the regions riverways.

After finishing our walk around the reserve we went up to Nettledale, where the Gorse is now at its wonderful best and releasing the gorgeous scent, made all the better by the sun which began to slowly break through. The Cowslips are also widely in flower, along with a few other wildflowers. In the scrub there were good numbers of Willow warblers in song, as were the Yellowhammers whom sang from atop the gorse bushes. A wonderful morning during this finest of seasons.

30th - Both Swifts & Swallows are now a daily feature, though the maximum count of Swifts is still only two.