Snow in April

Snow in April - Grey heron in flight
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 funneled 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

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14 Replies to “Snow in April

  1. Ashley, are you mad?! Shorts! Yes, we had every season in one day yesterday too and it looks like we might get more today. I always love seeing your pictures form the patch and these are no exception. I saw my first batch of ducklings over the weekend, but nothing so far along the canals. The swan is nesting at the marina though. Sarah 🙂
    #adventurecalling

    1. Haha I try to break out the shorts as early as possible, not a fan of long trousers 🙂 I've only seen 4 ducklings so far, but heard today there is a party of Goosander chick on the river, which is brilliant for local birds.

  2. Looks like a pied wagtail to me – they are my favourite birds. My mum always taught me to look for the wagtails partner – they always seem to come in twos! Lovely blog, hello from #adventurecalling

    1. It's a tough bird, some elements seem right for Pied, but the demarcation line between the dark cap and grey body suggests White. Sadly not an expert on female whites so not sure if that could be whey there are grey flecks in teh cap and darker flecks on the back.

  3. How I admire your knowledge of birds! I love spotting them, looking at them, or listening to them while out and about on our family adventures, but I'm useless at identifying them.
    The weather was just as crazy here in Ireland yesterday – we got hailstones rather than snow…
    #Adventurecalling

  4. Lovely post if not lovely weather. Yes, same here I'm afraid – I got caught in a hailstorm on a short hike yesterday when a few weeks back I seem to remember thinking that summer had arrived early. I love your knowledge of birds I'd very much like to be able to identify some myself when I'm in the mountains. I might look for a small pocket guide to birds in Snowdonia as a start. Thanks for joining us on #adventurecalling

  5. Shorts in April is much crazier and definitely rarer than snow in April as far as I'm concerned!! Lovely article – we're lucky enough to get quite a few wagtails in our garden here in Luxembourg; they always brighten up even the dreariest of days with their upbeat demeanor. #adventurecalling

  6. As soon as it hits double figures where i live in Scotland people are out in their shorts and tshirts! Im still wearing a base layer and a fleece! Ha! Love looking for wildlife, we recently went to the RSPB Loch Leven with our 2 boys and they loved spotting the birds. #adventurecalling

  7. This was probably the day my car said it was 3 degrees! During that short journey I was met with hail, sleet and bright sunshine. No wonder us Brits love talking about the weather! The shorts were a brave move that's for sure. Thanks for joining in with #adventurecalling again, always a pleasure to read your posts.

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