bird behaviour, Sketchbook

First big Swallow arrival

The last two or three days has seen the first large congregation of Swallows over our local lake. But today at 3pm, with the temperature at just 6 celsius and very heavy rain about 70 were seen feeding millimetres above the surface of the water flying past Coots and Tufted Duck, their plumage fluffed up to protect them against the cold. I have yet to see any back at breeding sites locally, instead in the cold conditions they congregate where their flying insect food is most abundant at Newburgh Priory Lake. With them a single House Martin and a single Sand Martin.

Swallow in cold weather- watercolour in sketchbook
bird behaviour

April snow on the moors

A glorious morning to enjoy the late snow- minus 3 c at dawn. I set off before dawn to see the sun rise over the snow covered Spaunton Moor. Looking towards Ana Cross the strength of the wind was evident with lots of snow blown against clumps of heather. I have rarely known a snow storm last as long as last Tuesday night. It started snowing at about 7pm and didn’t stop until mid morning on Wednesday(well over an inch of precipitation fell). The wind gusted to more than 60mph making it a truly wild night. I had great views of Red Grouse this morning and successully called them close to the car again. These birds are equipped to deal with snow with feathered legs and feet and looked completely at ease. As the sun rose even the Meadow Pipits sang though the Curlew and Lapwing remained quiet or absent.

Spaunton Moor, 5th April at dawn- photograph copyright Jonathan Pomroy 2012
Ana Cross, Spaunton Moor, 5th April- photograph copyright Jonathan Pomroy 2012
Red Grouse in snow- photograph copyright Jonathan Pomroy 2012