An enjoyable stroll around the patch this morning produced some cracking Spring migrants. In the Mill Pool area we stumbled upon our first Common Swift of the year along with a pair of House Martin among the small groups of Swallow and Sand Martin. At least 3 Willow Warbler were in full song along with the same number of Blackcap.
In addition, the semi-resident drake Hooded Merganser was spotted on Pretty Pigs Pool along with the usual Mute x Whooper Swan hybrid. Other marvels of nature included a pair of Grass Snake basking in the sunshine and a recently built Long-tailed Tit nest.... awesome!
Over on the Staffordshire side of the reserve the highlight was a handsome male Common Redstart feeding amongst the apple trees in the Old Orchard. In a field nearby, a small flock of 5 Northern Wheatear were present. One of the birds (see photo below) stood out from the rest in that it was slightly stockier and had a brighter buff wash over most of it's underparts. It is possible that it could have been of the race leucorhoa, one of the true miracles of migration. It is amazing to think that these birds are more than capable of making the arduous journey from sub-Saharan Africa to their breeding grounds around the coasts of Greenland.
|Possible leucorhoa Northern Wheatear
Alvecote Pools, Staffordshire