|Posted on April 30, 2012 at 7:35 PM|
It's been raining a lot lately, in fact it seems to have been raining more often than not. The month began largely how March finished off; dry, sunny and seeming to offer no respite from the long period of drought. Then the water companies announced a hosepipe ban and the heavens opened! The Met Office have just confirmed that this April was the wetest on record and some places had three-times the normal monthly rainfall.
I have been taking advantage of some truly wet and horrible weekend weather to get some decorating done and hopefully get it finished before the spring really arrives. I painted all day Saturday and all Sunday morning but as the afternoon arrived and the rain began to ease I was literally climbing the walls to escape and do some birding.
I finally headed off around 3pm and drove to Cliffe Pools hoping for waders and hirundines, I wasn't to be disappointed.
I drove out of Cliffe village along the access track through some very deep puddles, pausing to listen for birdsong. Whitethroat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Sedge Warbler but no nightingale in an area where I had 2 or more last year. I drove to the Black Barn pool and was soon joined by Barry Wright. From the first viewing mound we had a few Whimbrel, my first for the year, c50 Avocet and a scattering of Lapwing and Redshank. A Swift flew over and a House Martin just a few seconds later, another 2 year ticks.
I drove to the far end of the access track to the site of the old coastguard cottages. Opposite on flooded meadows were a decent selection of waders. A summer plumaged Spotted Redshank, c20 Whimbrel, c30 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Black-tailed Godwit and a few Lapwing and Redshank. Several Wheatear were also present and Skylark were singing all around.
Barry had taken a track leading out further into the grazing marsh and after swapping sightings we swapped places. I found around another dozen Whimbrel on the marsh but little else.
Overall it was just good to get out and always pleasing to see waders like Whimbrel and bar-wits passing through.
The marsh looked green and there was lots of standing water. Perhaps the local breeding birds won't have such a tough time after all.