Spring has kind of Sprung on Billinge Hill

A quick blast up to Billinge Hill and surround this early am in the hope of a spring migrant was fruitless, no chiffchaffs, no wheatears, no hirundines ..... winter birds dominated the preceedings tho there were certainly some signs of spring including one I have not witnessed before!

The song of skylark and yellowhammer filled the air on the walk up with at least 7 yellowhammer and a couple of linnet territories occupied.

A small flock of lesser redpoll has been present for a number of weeks in the landfill site and on this occasion I counted 8 "buzzing" over.  A few calling overhead siskin added to the winter feel.

I pushed on to the pine copse and sheep fields (favourite haunts for wheatear and ring ouzel in past years) where a couple of goldcrest were singing in the canopy tho a distant noise was attracting my attention, as I moved closer I could distinguish that there was a large number of starling in the next copse over.  And then the sight and sound of 100+ redwing feeding in the field and standing alert in the treetops bowled me over.

As I less than stealthily snuck around the corner the redwing flew to the tree tops but I was able to get into the copse and wait ..... the sound of redwing pre-migration is amazing a mixture of song and call akin to an orchestra warming up!

In addition a male brambling was present.

So spring migrants yet to arrive but plenty to keep one interested

Paul B

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