SPTA West

It has been 3 months since my last blog; where does the time go?  In that period I spent a week in Lesbos with an AOS trip that I organised and a week in Corsica with a Natutretrek trip; all endemics seen.  I also had a few days in Croatia with my son.  The Plain has been out of bounds at times as we get multi-national exercises taking part for weeks at a time.  I will admit I went twitching in Feb to see the Penduline Tit at Gloucester and Pallas's Warbler in Dorset.  I also attended a Naturetrek weekend in Norfolk for the guides and staff with Lapland Bunting and Snow Bunting easily seen.  On the Plain in late winter there were a few Woodcock around as well as flocks of Golden Plover, Fieldfare and Redwing.  There were also plenty of Fairy Shrimp.  During our unsuccesful Hen Harrier surveys in February the Starling murmuration at Gore Cross COTEC site was fantastic and we were 2kms away.  There must have been around 1 million birds in the sky making dramatic patterns.  More recently the summer migrants have arrived with Cuckoo, Whinchat, Whitethroat taking up territories.  On the Centre in the hand (been ringing and deatils can be found on Wiltshire birds web site) I have had Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Garden Warbler and Nightingale to mention a few.  On the east I have watched Stone Curlew and twice now seen a male Montagu's Harrier.  On the west there is Stone Curlew and Redstart breeding as well as the usual suspects of Stonechat, Corn Bunting,  Linnet and of course owls.  My nest boves have had a mixed reception but they do require checking again now I can get out there.  At present there are still puddles with Toad tadpoles and orchids are starting to show.  There has been an explosion of butterflies hatching when the sun shines with Marsh Fritillary and Blues.  I hope to see you at the AGM in Scotland next month.


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