By sheer coincidence the 22 April was the date I set foot in Barbondale to check out the 'early birds' here last year. If aesthetics are a part of your birdwatching make up then places like this fit the bill in bucket loads and I know and visit lots more which do the same. Though yesterday I entered just 31 species in my book - with 14 listed below - as the result of some very serious 'legwork' at least two of which are - in my book - exceptional. Some notable species 'missing' though in some cases still a little too early, Cuckoo, Spotted Flycatcher, Wood Warbler, Grey Wagtail, Common Sandpiper, and Pied Flycatcher though I am reliably informed a male was seen here on Tuesday but not today by me or this same informant. As for the Common Sandpiper, void of searching my records I've not seen this bird here in a year or two but remember in the past being scolded by one obviously with a nest/young in the area I was in at the time.
The minute I got out of the car Willow Warbler was heard in numbers - well the bird never fails does it - I got the impression the Redstart came a close second, with males in song in fair number though I actually saw just three with a pair showing interest in a tree hole, I heard just one Tree Pipit, saw at least 12 Wheatear, a Green Woodpecker which gave excellent views 'yaffled' intermittently all day, I saw 3 Dipper including one feeding young at a nest which I watched being built when I visited here on 24 February, a healthy number of Meadow Pipit, a Song Thrush and Mistle Thrush, and 2 Treecreeper, something of a surprise was a Goosander flying upstream then returned downstream about thirty minutes later, a couple of Buzzard sightings were probably the same bird.
I think the best record of the day must be a pair of Whinchat, rapidly becoming one of the UK's scarcest summer visitor's the male of which I rate as one of the smartest you could wish to clap eye's on. And finally......8 Stonechat were excellent and I actually think I had sight of 10 birds but am coming down on caution with the risk of a pair being seen twice.
The pic which I have 'dug out' is the best I could do with the American Robin which was in Bingley, West Yorkshire when I 'twitched' it with JB/BT on 2 February 2007 followed on the same day by a Pacific Diver which was conveniently not that many miles away at Knaresborough.