Frozen Spring

By the first of May I normally wear sandals and shorts and enjoying the first spells of Summer. This year however, spring is pretty much missing. At my departure the temperature was 0C°! This morning I went out to the Manor Farm, the only place to see some shorebirds around Milton Keynes. Being at the site with the first rays of sunlight always provides some special athmosphere for birding. At this time of the year birds are singing with full power, some of them are already busy defending their offspring from intruders.

The morning started with some new birds of the year in the UK. A Common Sandpiper was feeding along the rocky shores of the quarry and Common Terns were loudly chasing each other. As I approached the hide an Arctic Tern flew over the area towards the west without stopping. It’s always exciting to see this rarely and infrequently occuring seabird inland.

I found the first Northern Lapwing brood with three chicks feeding along the densely vegetated gravel islands. The female was around them while the male was guaring and chased approaching Carrion Crows and Lesser Black-blacked Gulls. Along the quarry route a lot of Greater Whitethroats were singing. They were new additions to the year as well, just like Sedge Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat and Common Swift.

Here is the complete eBird checklist:

Greylag Goose 1 injured
Canada Goose 14
Mute Swan 5
Gadwall 7
Mallard 22
Tufted Duck 25
Great Crested Grebe 1
Gray Heron 4
Little Egret 1
Eurasian Moorhen 21
Eurasian Coot 19
Eurasian Oystercatcher 3
Northern Lapwing 9 (3 chicks + 6 adults)
Little Ringed Plover 5
Common Sandpiper 2
Common Redshank 4
Black-headed Gull 2
Lesser Black-backed Gull (L. f. graellsii) 12
Common Tern 6
Arctic Tern 1
Stock Dove 2
Common Wood-Pigeon 20
Common Swift 24
Common Kingfisher 2
Eurasian Green Woodpecker 2
Eurasian Magpie 4
Eurasian Jackdaw 8
Rook 4
Carrion Crow 31
Europen Sky Lark 2
Barn Swallow 4
Eurasian Blue Tit 7
Great Tit 3
Long-tailed Tit 5
Eurasian Treecreeper 3
Eurasian Wren 19
Cetti’s Warbler 1
Willow Warbler 2
Common Chiffchaff 6
Sedge Warbler 6
Eurasian Reed-Warbler 3
Eurasian Blackcap 6
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Greater Whitethroat 23
European Robin 11
Eurasian Blackbird 11
Song Thrush 2
European Starling 4
Dunnock 4
White Wagtail (British) (Motacilla alba yarrellii) 7
Common Reed Bunting 8
Common Chaffinch 3
Eurasian Linnet 5

A part of the eautiful pasture aroung Manor Farm early in the frosty morning. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Mist emerged from the river. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Peaceful waters with waterbirds and displayinh Little Ringed Plovers. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Dunnock was singing undisturbed. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Common Terns were looking for the best nesting spots. © Gyorgy Szimuly

British White Wagtail. © Gyorgy Szimuly

A very noisy shot of one of the Nortern Lapwing chicks. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Male Nortern Lapwing guarding around the chicks. © Gyorgy Szimuly

The Iron Trunk Aqueduct from the Manor Farm. The bushes right to the river is a busy songbird spot with singing Cetti’s Warbler. © Gyorgy Szimuly


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