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Friday, 9 May 2014

Hundreds of Hawking Hirundines

Wild Strawberry
Today was really very windy with a strong westerly wind blowing off the Atlantic. Nevertheless a walk around Upper Tamar Lake in the bright sunshine was worth trying.

The first 10 minutes was quite cold with the wind chill, but around the more sheltered eastern branch, amongst the trees it was quite sheltered. Here were many Wild Strawberries – much taller and with bigger leaves than the early flowering Barren Strawberries and with the equal length terminal serrated tip to the leaf.

Canada Goose and goslings
The lake had lost most of its wetland birds with only a few Herring Gulls, a pair of Great Crested Grebe and a family of Canada Geese; parents and five goslings. The lake was host to hundreds of hawking Hirundines replacing them. There was over a hundred of them – almost exclusively Swallows skimming the lake and fields hoovering up the emerging flying insects. Among them were a few House Martins and Swifts though.

Green-veined White
The strong wind blew most of the butterflies beyond recognition distance for they were all “whites”. At least one of them sheltering amongst the foliage was a Green-veined White.

I was pleased to put me recent bird ringing experience to good use. I had handled a few Sedge Warblers so was able to identify, first by song then by sight one by the edge of the lake. The lemon supercilium above an olive eye-stripe and orange-yellow gape as it sang made identification certain.

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