Good sunny, warm calm weather, an excellent location, and hopefully choice birds....it had to be my spring pilgrimage to Barbondale on Tuesday.
Cuckoo Marc Heath
A few minutes here and my first bird was the Cuckoo which was distant at first but came nearer as the day progressed, though despite my efforts I never did see this bird.
Whinchat Brian Rafferty
Only a few minutes later and I could here a singing Whinchat, and a few more minutes after I saw what could have been a second bird, but too little time and distance between the sightings to be sure of two birds....the day was looking like being a good one.
A male and female Pied Flycatcher have returned to Barbondale, though they appeared to be unconnected and some considerable distance apart, the male was in full song.
Female Redstart Simon Hawtin
I had an excellent seven hours in the area including the brilliant ancient woodland, a walk up the Bull Pot track, and a wander a couple of miles to the east. Twenty two species were noted and included, five Redstart, two of which were females, 7 Wheatear, 2 Tree Pipit, 17 Meadow Pipit, 4 Reed Bunting, and a Grey Wagtail, a Raven and 2 Buzzard were overhead. I also unfortunately flushed a Tawny Owl from its daytime roost in the area I had seen the bird last year.
I also noted only a 'few' Willow Warbler heard/seen in an area I expected to be overrun with them. Of particular note I found no Stonechat, and saw no Dipper or Common Sandpiper, though the latter seems to have been absent from here for a few years now according to my records, it was too early for the Spotted Flycatcher.
The numbers at Barbondale will increase over the coming days/weeks, but from the start on Tuesday I was inspired to think my day was going to be a good day....and it was.
Thanks to Marc/Brian/Simon for the excellent photographs for this post.