Thursday, 28 March 2013

Nesting on hold..

I haven't noticed too much interest, so far, in the five nestboxes scattered around the house and garden: two are for tit species, two aimed at Robins or Wren, and one Sparrow terrace, recently acquired from BirdWatch Ireland and sporting a slate roof.

The garden is of course stuffed with birds: alll the winter flocks and variety are still present, not surprising really given the winter showers of sleet and snow that are persisting for the last week and forecast into next..  

Great Tits in a snowstorm (c.OOS)

Haven't yet heard a spring migrant up this way, though I was fortunate enough to meet with a spring 'fall' of Chiffchaffs on Cape Clear Island, earlier this week.  We counted about 70 or more in our walk around the western end of the island, there may have been hundreds present if the whole island is taken into account. Their behaviour was most interesting: foraging along the ground and in the grass or field layer, despite the presence of a fairly rich shrub and tree layer on west Corks famous bird island.  

Other migrants present included about 20 Wheatears, 2 Ring Ouzels and a half dozen Blackcaps.  One wonders how many of these birds are in fact destined for an Irish summer, or staging en route to other northern European destinations.  A Black Redstsrt was an interesting passage bird, undoubtedly staging and there were a couple of reports elsewhere this week: at BirdWatch Irelands HQ in Kilcoole and another one logged in Redcross, Co Wicklow.   This is after a winter when you couldn't find one for love nor money!

Black Redstart, Redcross (c.R. Heaney)

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