Thursday, 25 April 2013

Grounded Migrants

Willow Warbler, grounded. (c.OOS)
Its nearly 10 days ago now, but the first wave of warm southerly winds brought rain and mist, and with it quite a few migrant birds waiting to complete their north bound seasonal journey.

This is usually most noticable on the coast, on headlands or offshore islands where the sudden local change in bird populations has long attracted students of migration to witness the sometimes huge falls of migrants. It's 
great to get even a thin slice of this action, inland and out of the way in county Wicklow.. and so it was.. the wet, dew covered lawn was hopping with Willow Warblers, one of our commonest migrants.  It's interesting that a bird closely associated with feeding in trees such as willows, will forage on open ground.. I wonder is there an easy insect food source to be found in the saturated grass?  A day later they had retreated to the tree cover, well hidden and only identifiable by that lovely twittering cascade of notes, a true sound of spring.

Willow Warbler: up close.. note the pale legs and feet,mustardy coloured (c. M. Finn)

So much for grounded migrants. .. we had a few grounded mammals in too: 

Sika Deer  young and mum? (c.OOS)
Always a pretty sight, Sika deer also annoy in equal measure: they browse young trees and shrubs as well as break branches, seemingly for fun.. Knowing their capacity for food, I was still surprised to see a young animal descend on the seed feeder, the 'no more mess' mix is obviously attractive to them! 

Sika Feeder: no more mess! (c.OOS)


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