Sunday, 17 May 2009

What a difference the rain makes....

Today was one of those morning when I really had to work hard to spot anything. The White Coppice dippers were out of sight (Rick saw a fledging dipper yesterday). I could hear a stonechat but could I see it.... A couple of us could hear a grasshopper warbler but it too remained illusive. And there was neither sight nor sound of the redstart which I've missed on every visit.... But gradually things got better, with the help of another birder I saw a blackcap and a newly arrived spotted flycatcher.

Then up over the Nab and on to Heapey where I spotted hedge sparrows, a pied wagtail carrying food and swifts. After a chat to the lodge keeper the rain began. I sheltered under a tree and noticed a blue tit's nest and my first house martins of the year. They moved on and I followed. And as the rain increased so did the martins: 10 ... 20 ... 30 ... and finally almost 40 house martins along with some swallows were busily scooping up flies. Some flying within three feet of me. And as I reached the road, I couldn't believe it - two more (or the same two?) spotted flycatchers also making the most of the sudden abundance of flies. A song thrush, a pair of mistle thrush. Well worth staying out in the rain for.

Photo of spotted flycatcher used by kind permission of Phil Kirk, Chorley NATS. Click on it to enlarge.

4 comments:

The Weaver of Grass said...

Yes Carol, we have noticed how the rain has brought the insect eating birds around today. Also have you noticed how much clearer the song of the blackbird is when it is raining? Our swifts and house martins are back in the eaves and the swallows are well on with their nest-building in the barns.

Crafty Green Poet said...

good birding there!

Coastcard said...

The sound of the cuckoo is always so pure when it travels across (calm) water. I suppose this is the same kind of acoustic phenomenon as a blackbird in the rain...

Mistlethrush said...

Your farm sounds so wonderful Weaver and how lucky to have swifts. I was walking past a local stables yesterday and paused to watch the swallows very busily flying in and out - magic.
I wonder if there is a connection between water and the quality of birdsong. Certainly they seem to sing more after the rain - I wonder if that's why....

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