Godwits gathering at Wheldrake Ings and some other signs of early Spring

arly spring last year produced some very healthy numbers of Black Tailed Godwits at Wheldrake Ings. From memory I had at least one count of 200+ there. Just a dozen or so here on the 8th Feb but their numbers will surely swell over the next few weeks. The majority of Black Tailed Godwits winter in Africa and SE Asia and breed across Northern Europe / Russia with a small population in the UK  (around the Ouse Washes). Whilst threatened as a breeding bird in most of Europe, the Icelandic population is doing rather better and increasing year on year. Most of these birds choose to winter around the shores of Western Europe, including the UK, and gather at various wetland sites, including Wheldrake Ings, in early spring en route back to Iceland.

Black Tailed Godwits, Wheldrake Ings, 08/02/2022
Black Tailed Godwits, Wheldrake Ings, 08/02/2022

It was pleasing to see so many Lapwings and Golden Plover at Wheldrake too with circa 4,000 & 500 respectively plus 11 Ruff

Lapwing flock, Wheldrake Ings, 08/02/2022

Elsewhere in the countryside I've seen plenty of the usual signs of the early spring - Hazel Catkins, Snowdrops and even the odd Primrose, more bird-song with Song Thrushes in particular spouting forth, and a build up of other birds such as Shelduck and Oystercatchers as they move away from the coast.

Hazel Catkins, Staveley, 02/02/2022
Snowdrops, Moorlands, 29/01/2022
Shelduck, North Cave Wetlands, 10/02/2022


?Fox Moth caterpillar, 11/02/2022

Last week I met up with a couple of mates for a bit of a 'jamming' session 🎸🎸. It's been great to restart the music stuff over the past few weeks and we had a 'buzzing' session. Earlier in the day we went up to Sandsend for a walk around the old alum and slate mines there. Precious few birds about - Curlew, Oystercatcher, Goldcrest and a few Yellowhammers was about it, but we did see a brave caterpillar crossing the path. Fox Moth I reckon but could be wrong! Some stunning coastal scenery made up for the lack of birds.

Deepgrove Wyke, Sandsend, 11/02/2022
Old Alum mine, Sandsend, 11/02/2022

There's a few Yorkshire birds I'd like to catch up with - the Baikal Teal is still at Swinemoor nr Beverley, several Twite and Snow Buntings at various coastal locations, and though now long gone 3 Chough over Flamborough Head would have been amazing!

1 added Corn Bunting to my year-list the other day along the Pocklington Canal but 116 is a poor tally compared with last year. 

Walbutt Bridge, Pocklington Canal, 14/02/2022


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