Friday 30 March 2012

Spring wishlist

Whoah there. What’s going on? I’m sure it was December a minute ago. And now the sun’s out and birds are singing, and there’s migrants turning up all over the place. Hmm, must be spring – perhaps I’d better write something just in case people think I didn’t make it through the winter.

So, yes, spring. Every year around this time, I start thinking about my county list, and what might turn up this spring. The trouble with spring, of course, is that migrating birds are in a hurry and so often don’t hang around for long. In recent years I’ve missed a few birds that just didn’t stay long enough, including the Stone Curlew at North Luffenham last year and the Broad-billed Sandpiper at Rutland Water the year before. And then there are the inevitable single observer flyovers like last year’s Black Kite.

But of course there have been some that have stayed long enough for me to see, such as last year’s long-awaited Hoopoe and Glossy Ibis, and the Buff-breasted Sandpiper in 2010.

 THE Glossy Ibis. Eat my record shot.

But there are still loads of potential spring county ticks that could turn up. Here are a few of them, with an indication of their likelihood. Just one of these would be good, please:

Golden Oriole. Statistically the most likely, with around 20 accepted Leics records... and about a thousand stringy claims that were actually Green Woodpeckers. Or discarded banana skins.

Stone Curlew. More of these must pass through the county, especially out in the east of Rutland. Just need one to turn up on a day when I haven’t got a family gathering to attend, or to hang around for a bit longer than one evening.

That’s it for the at all likely ones; everything else is even less likely!

Squacco Heron – 1 county record in 1971.
Black Stork – 1 county record (2 birds) in 1991.
Black Kite – only 1 accepted record (2011) but several other claims that didn’t quite make it.
Black-winged Stilt – 2 county records (4 birds) in 1945 and 1987.
Collared Pratincole – 1 county record in 1977 (plus a dodgy one from 18-something)
Broad-billed Sandpiper – probably too much to hope for another one so soon?
Alpine Swift – 3 county records, last one in 2008.
Bee-eater – 3 county records, last one in 1992.
Savi’s Warbler – 4 records – just remembered this is another one from last year that didn’t hang around! Maybe it will come back this year...