Unlike the past few years, the first half of spring has been extremely wet. Unfortunately, at times, it has been really quite chilly as well and migration has been deathly quiet, even non-existent, for extended spells.
This all changed on 18 April when a brisk north-easterly wind and clear skies – classic conditions for the date – suddenly saw Bar-tailed Godwit passage get going. Over the following few days I had at least 22 birds pass through at Baston Wader Pit.
The 19th was the best day of April at Baston. A vigil from dawn saw 10 Bar-tailed Godwits move through in small groups, 14 Little Gulls (including a vocal flock of nine in the early morning sunshine), Arctic Tern and Spotted Redshank. The last bird hung around for a week in total, commuting between the pits and Baston Fen and having noticeably advanced in moult by the time it left.
Despite this excitement, and a lovely Grey Plover the following morning, things died down again pretty quickly and, on the whole, it had to be said that April was a bit of a disappointment in the Deepings area. This was compounded by the record-breaking flocks of Kittiwakes and, later, Little Gulls in the Trent Valley – only around 40 km to the north-west. But that's just the way it goes, sometimes!
Passerine migration didn't ever really get flowing, either. There were a few days where Northern Wheatears seemed to be moving in decent numbers, but it was a blank month for Whinchat and Ring Ouzel locally and the only Common Redstart I could find was a fortuitous encounter with a male in roadside brambles at Bourne South Fen, which happened to be calling as I drove past with the window down on my way to work!
One of the highlights of the month was a group of three Black-necked Grebes which spent a few days moving around sites near Peterborough. Despite plenty of vocalising and display, they moved off again at the end of the month and no breeding attempt was forthcoming.
The musings of a wildlife enthusiast, usually armed with his camera.