Environment Magazine

Snow in April

Posted on the 26 April 2017 by Ashley Crombet-Beolens @Fromanurbanlake
Snow in April
Seriously what is going on with the weather? I woke up yesterday morning looked out the window and was greeted by beautiful blue skies, brilliant I though to myself, donning my shorts, after the school run I'll hit the patch and be inundated with summer migrants. Stepping out of the door, the freezing northerly winds, whipped around my legs and I instantly knew I had made a mistake, come the afternoon the little lady and I would be experiencing snow in April!

Snow in April


As I walked over the brow of the hill below the old Wolverton church the vista of the Ouse valley stretched out before me, the bright sunshine and blue skies welcoming me back to the patch, yet you'd be forgiven for thinking it was December with the way the freezing wind was blowing through.
As I wandered through the Old Lock area, even the thick bushes couldn't keep the chill wind at bay, although respite in the sunshine could be found, and the cold was definitely affecting the birds, although Chiffchaff could still be heard, the number seemed down on previous walks, and there were no willow warblers, and few Blackcaps.

Lapwing in Flight

Lapwing in Flight


Lack of Birds


There was a complete lack of birds on the reserve to start with as well, a couple of Lapwing, also staying low with the strong, cold, winds and a few Little Ringed Plover between the Farm and Viaduct hides.
Sitting in the Viaduct hide, was like torture, the cold wind was funnelled through the open slots and my hands felt like ice cubes every time I took them out of my pockets to lift my camera or binoculars, but 4 LRP's could be seen (presumably the birds from between hides joined by a 4th bird), as well as 2 Common Sandpiper and 2 Redshank, improving the birding.
And then a Wagtail dropped in! 
Now I'm not fully sure which species this is (or rather which subspecies), it is either a Pied Wagtail or a White Wagtail, I'm used to obvious male Whites or clear female Pieds, but this falls in between in my opinion, I've asked for others opinions but they also seem split. Would love others thoughts. Photos below:

Pied or White Wagtail?

Pied or White Wagtail?


Another view of the pied/white wagtail

Another view of the pied/white wagtail


Walking Home


Heading back along the river, I discovered a fallen egg (not sure if this is from a hatched bird or one that was robbed, which is more likely) anyone able to ID it?

Fallen Egg

Fallen Egg


Sedge Warbler and Common Whitethroat seemed to spring up along this stretch, their competing scratchy songs emanating from various bushes and reed beds, over head 3 Common Buzzards called as they circled high on thermals. Herons and Egrets braved the winds and flew through the reserve and fluttering Goldfinch called from positions amongst seed heads.

Goldfinch

Goldfinch


The loud cronking of my first Raven on the patch was an unexpected surprise, they have been seen on and off all year but I seem to have been unable to catch up with them until now. A nice end to a very cold walk.

Robin

Robin


Linking to...


The Helpful Hiker

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