April was a tricky month. It is normally excellent but after a crazy March it certainly calmed down with fewer records of fewer species thanks to the spell of settled, cold and clear northerlies that we have been experiencing. This has delayed birds arriving but the lack of cloud has meant those that have passed have been able to fly at great height, beyond the reach of my microphone. In total I recorded on just 15 nights which indicates my frustration. Mallards were a constant and I suspect a pair are nesting in a ditch not far away as I hear them most of the night. Oystercatcher have settled in the village with display heard regularly and there are Curlew in the village but the territory over the house seems to have disappeared since they built the estate next door. The odd snatch of display has been recorded but nothing like last year.
Common Scoter has again been the biggest feature of April. Despite a 50% reduction in effort in April compared to March, I recorded 28 flocks and 702 calls which represent a drop of 50% in flocks but only 20% interms of calls. Birds also tended to pass much later in the evening, generally starting just before midnight. My guess is that these are Irish sea birds from the Irish coast which take a couple of hours to cross from Louth and adjacent areas to hit the English and Welsh coasts of Liverpool Bay before making the same crossing over the Pennines the Welsh ones do. The peak night was 7-8th April with 10 flocks and 286 calls and only a single flock (or bird perhaps) after 14th April, which gave just 4 calls. Given I only recorded one night in the first week, it is likely I missed some stuff too.
Water Rail were recorded on four occasions with singles on 4th, 12th, 13th and 14th. It is unclear whether these were migrants or resident birds roding, The situation was similar for Moorhen with 11 passes from 4th and 158 calls. Gull passage was noted with Black-headed Gull noted on two nights, 3rd and 7th April and Herring Gull with a single on 8th giving a couple of calls and then a minimum of three birds giving 115 calls on 22nd and three flocks on 25th giving 777 calls. Thrushes were scarce with singles of Redwing, Blackbird and Robin across the month. Aside from the displaying Curlew, there were two flocks of presumed migrants recorded, on 13th and 14th April, with 96 calls recorded in total. Aside from the Scoter there was very little in terms of duck movement with a couple of flocks of Teal on 8th and 16th and a single flock of Wigeon on 19th April. A single record of Little Grebe gave a pretty decent Whimbrel impression and a Nocmig lifer was recorded on 25th when a single Greenfinch call was picked up as it flew over in the late evening.