Sunday, 7 June 2009

Tetrad Visit

I thought I'd better get my late final tetrad visit done this weekend (much easier to do when the birds are all still singing). I have to admit I was a bit apprehensive knowing that I had a field of horses and a field of donkeys to cross but I managed on my own. In fact most of the donkeys didn't seem to be there (perhaps they're in Blackpool now?); all that remained were a mother and three identical foals - all thickly coated in creamy-white fur. Cute, very cute - until they started trotting towards me!
One of the advantages of volunteering to survey a tetrad is that you often get to know an unfamiliar patch and watch it change as the seasons progress. (You are asked to make 4 visits during the year.) Some species, such as woodpigeon, collared dove, lapwings, garden birds and raptors have been present all year. Others, such as fieldfare, redwing and jackdaws have now gone. Others such as rooks and black-headed gulls are less numerous during the summer. And the spring brought passing migrants such as whimbrel and others, such as curlew and chiffchaff, swallows, swifts and house martins have come to breed.

Today's special moments were walking through fields dense with buttercups, sorrel, red clover and vetch to name but a few. Watching swallows, swifts and martins zooming low over almost every field. How do they manage not to collide? Listening to curlew burble round their fields and hearing wrens stuttering from just about everywhere. Suddenly spotting a so-low buzzard that was quickly seen-off by a pair of crow. The sparrowhawk and kestrel were also having a tough time elsewhere today. Seeing two grey partridge toddling down the road ahead and a couple of red-legged on a barn roof. Heartening, too, to see fledglings : pied wagtail, blue & great tits and seeing lots of adult birds carrying food.

Oh, I also saw a stoat running along the bank of the River Lostock, rabbits in most fields, lots of mole holes and two young lads very pleased at catching four chub.

Photos of collared dove, curlew and common buzzard are all by Mike Atkinson http://www.mikeatkinson.net/index.htm Pay him a visit - well worth it.

6 comments:

Crafty Green Poet said...

sounds like a very productive visit

Coastcard said...

Does your task involve recording just the birds, or do you record plants and other wildlife forms, too, I wonder? There seem to be a lot (relatively speaking) of orchids about in our neck of the woods at present.

Mistlethrush said...

The Bird Atlas Survey 2007-11 is just for birds. If you want any more info (or sign up for a tetrad) go to http://www.bto.org/birdatlas/index.htm

Initially I was unsure whether I'd be able to do it but I'm getting better at it now. The key is to look at your tetrad on a map and plan a route that includes the ranges of habitats therein. I've found that I can usually do this my remaining on public footpaths although I did get permission on one tetrad to cut down a non-public track to join a footpath and so create a better route.

It's fun to do and you get to know and inspire some of the people who live in the tetrad to appreciate what's on their doorsteps.

Coastcard said...

Thank you - just off to bto.org site...

The Weaver of Grass said...

Lovely post Carol. We did our tetrad last year and really enjoyed it. When you have to note things you really are on the alert to every movement, aren't you. Did you know that the RSPB wants everyone to note all the wildlife in their gardens this week - bugs, butterflies, mammals and birds - the lot. Thanks for a lovely walk round your tetrad.

Mistlethrush said...

I didn't know that until I read your post. The RSPB have just sent me an email about it today.

We have until Sunday to do it - so if you haven't already done so why not take part in the survey too? Come on, let's get busy....

from the field book

from the field book
An inspiring gift for anyone who enjoys watching nature.