Saturday, March 31, 2012

Captain Corelli's Mandarin

A change in the weather, gone are the clear blue skies, the balmy air, and in its place cold cloudy conditions, though the wind is still from the north. Still it has meant that less people were around this morning, though the litter from yesterdays throng still remained. It also felt a bit more likely that birds might be around, even migrants. In fact my first bird of the morning was a singing Blackcap in the copse (1st record this year) and my first (and only) spring migrant at EIDB this March. March 2012 has been largely forgettable, a couple of Chiffchaffs and a report of a LRP are the only other spring migrants so far.
As usual I gave the Thames a quick look and saw two ducks far away downriver, they looked rather odd and my first thought was Mandarin, but too distant to clinch. Then to my benefit a boat came upriver and put them to flight and the birds flew towards me landing in front of me before heading off towards Blackwell Basin. A pair of Mandarin, only the 2nd record here, the first one being in May 2004. I usually do not benefit from boats disturbing birds, so this was a welcome change. Buoyed up I had a good look around the area but apart from a Stock Dove on Pura Foods there was nothing of note. So migrants are still very thin on the ground but I have heard that there has bee a huge fall of migrants at Portland this morning, so things maybe starting to happen

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