Friday, 4 May 2012

April overview, a record month?

April turned out to be a rather special month after a very poor last few months, it especially picked up over the last five days of the month, as you would expect a lot of new year ticks are added this month with all the spring arrivals and with so few added in March due to late arrivals it further boosted the month, in total a incredible 21 species were added to the year list and the month saw a total of 82 species recorded, I'm sure a few other Westport regulars will know better but certainly in the three years I've been back around Westport this is the highest monthly total for any month period, and it wouldn't surprise me if there hasn't been a higher total in any previous years.

The usual additions that we would normally expect in March came in early April with Little Ringed Plover, Swallow, Willow Warbler and to a lesser degree House Martin, then there were the obvious species that always arrive in April, these included, Common Sandpiper, Common Tern, Swift & Whitethroat.

There then follows the species which although not always guaranteed in this month or even in spring they are becoming more regular on passage, these included, Osprey, Hobby, Oystercatcher, Arctic Tern, Lesser Whitethroat, Wheatear, Yellow Wagtail and White Wagtail, other species that have been seen in other months previously and were new for the year included, Pheasant and Raven.

So this brings me down to the special birds found this month, and I'm not really sure which I would class as 'bird of the month', sadly none of them were photographed, the first was found by Bill Low on the 25th with not just one but four adult *Little Gulls*, I think there are two other previous records but all involved single birds, this was followed by a *Yellowhammer* found by Colin, I've looked through what records I have and I've looked at the 'Westport bird report for 2002' which includes a section at the back for rare/scarce birds at Westport and there is no mention of any Yellowhammer records, although I'm sure this species has been recorded here previously. Finally on the 28th Jeff Jones found a superb male Pied Flycatcher in the trees around Ted Heath Rock, it stayed for the whole day allowing all the regulars to catch up on this much needed tick, so bird of the month, Little Gull, Yellowhammer or Pied Flycatcher, I'll let you make your own mind up.

* Thanks to Nick who has updated me with the following records, to my surprise Little Gull records are way out, just between 1983 & 1991 alone their have been a total of 11 records, also regarding Yellowhammer Nick has two previous records one in 88/89 and the other in 2008.*

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