With winter hanging on for so long it is a relief that my most recent visits to the farm have been enlivened by significant numbers of newly arrived spring migrants. The songs of Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers now emanate from the wooded areas, whilst splashes of vibrant yellow in the grassy fields reveal the presence of Yellow Wagtails. Up to a dozen of these pretty birds have been feeding around scrapes and amongst them has been a rather smart Channel Wagtail. This is not a new species, but a hybrid between two subspecies of Yellow Wagtail. The UK form of Yellow Wagtail is flavissima and the continental Blue-headed form is flava. The hybrid resulting from the pairing of these two subspecies is rather attractive and referred to as Channel Wagtail. I managed to get a photo of it below.
Today's rain has produced the first influx of migrant waders of the spring with a Wood Sandpiper, three Dunlin and a flock of 42 Golden Plover appearing. 11 Snipe are still present on North Screed. Also present today were the first House Martins for the year along with decent numbers of Sand Martins and Swallows. A couple of Whitethroats were in the hedgerows and a Sedge Warbler sang from the Irrigation Pond reeds.
Breeding activity from the Lapwings remains well behind schedule, but there are several pairs on the farm and quite a few on the adjacent arable. If the pattern from previous years is maintained, then once young from nests on the arable hatch, they will be brought by their parents to the scrapes where hopefully they will fledge successfully. Time will tell.