Miscellaneous news and finally some Phenology

I have been organising my life recently, well at least in the sense of some internal admin. Perhaps, it is because winter has suddenly turned into spring and I am in a “spring cleaning” mode. What with logging my old Birdwatch magazines and other valuable reading sources such as British Wildlife magazine, I oddly feel better for it. For easy access to interesting stories and snippets of information, this really was an obvious choice and everything will eventually be stored within Microsoft Excel. From here, I can look for specifics by using keyword searches. How many others do this with their documents or undertake annual “spring cleaning”. Am I the only one?

Anyway, onto other more interesting topics as yesterday I ventured down to Hayling Island to do some birding, alongside a bit of dog walking. The highlight of a reasonable list of species was a Shore Lark (Eremophila alpestris). The view achieved was merely of its backside disappearing over a gravelly bank and lasted for what seemed like “half” a second. Moreover, an addition to my birding life list and a tick nonetheless. The weather was also fine with a light cloud covering at times with Temperatures, slightly above normal for the time of year.

    • Now onto the Phenological happenings locally, albeit achieved in two parts. The first appearance of a Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella) back in its breeding territory was a good sighting. Not only that though, I heard several birds in song for the first time this year.  No doubt, the warmer Temperatures and some brief sunshine triggered this activity.
    • My evidence for a Yellowhammer’s first visit back to their breeding territory returns an average date of 13th February, based on a sample of 8 records. Whereas, for a first heard singing Yellowhammer, the current evidence points to an average date of 19th February, based on a larger sample of 11 records. However, I wonder whether once the birds return, they are quick to sing despite my records indicating a gap of 6 days between the associated phenomenons. If this is the case, perhaps more research is required. Nonetheless, these iconic farmland birds breed well in this location and hopefully in high densities too.

Right then, after a briefly colder snap, warmer weather is forecast to be on its way for late February. With the anticipated rise in Air Temperatures next week, butterflies are likely to be on the wing and all manner of events could well be taking place.

Watch this space!

A Male Yellowhammer, courtesy of Finn Holding's (http://thenaturephile.com/) website
A Male Yellowhammer

*The above image is from a fellow blogger’s wonderful website – The Naturephile

Kind Regards

Tony Powell

3 thoughts on “Miscellaneous news and finally some Phenology

  1. Very interesting. Spring cleaning and collating sounds a very good idea, especially once you have it all within excel, will make accessing easier. Keep up the good work and posts.

  2. Hello Tony, I saw yellowhammer a couple of weekends ago (and there were alot of other birds around too: ‘https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0An_1fHtGFZ9EdGFXUG5SbnVJbEk0YUE0SEJ1U3VQNFE#gid=1’) but they weren’t singing.

    It’s already very mild here in Cambridge and it looks as though it’s going to last so hopefully there’ll be some spring type behaviour here soon.

    Thanks for ‘thenaturephile’ plug.

    All the best

    Finn

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