It has been an odd spring locally for the influx of migrants after our very cold winter. Back in March it looked liked everything was going to arrive a bit earlier than usual and then there seemed to be lull as the winds shifted to north-westlies. It has only been in the last couple of days that the birds seem to be on the move again, so I popped out at first light yesterday morning hoping to try and find some grasshopper warbler. I must admit I failed on that quest and the usual bramble bushes they inhabit were eerily forlorn and deserted. The only migrant I did find was some Chiffchaffs so spent a while with them taking photographs. They are not the most visually interesting birds and while they lack the looks you certainly have to admire such a tiny bird making that epic voyage back and forth to Africa. They are tricky birds to photograph as they tend to be either in the tops of the trees or deep in the undergrowth. Fortunately the very slow spring progress of tree foilage helped in their photography.
Given the general lack of migrants to photograph I decided to see what resident birds could be found for the camera.
Nearby a dunnock was taking in some early morning sun.
Coots were battling it out amongst themselves on the local pond.
Together with Little Grebes bobbing around and occasionally uttering their strange calls.
and a lone cormorant looking for some fish breakfast.
Another cormorant was encountered flying close to the water along the sea wall that borders the area of scrub, ponds and reedbeds I was searching. This was an adult bird in breeding colours showing the white thigh patch they develop.
A further fly-by, but below the Icelandic volcanic ash level, was made by one of the resident Little Egrets.
A lone Mistle thrush was busy listening to the ground for eathworms below.
A patient female Kestrel waited for that rustle in the undergrowth signalling the arrival of a breakfast rodent.
So despite the lack of spring migrants, my search for resident birds and watching them going about the daily early morning routines provided some comfort that prehaps things were not as odd as they appear.