A pair of tree sparrows came to my feeders in Crigglestone from 26-29 March 2015, but they moved on. I used to have a breeding colony in my nest boxes from 1958-1968, which peaked at 10 pairs in 1964 and 11 in 1968.Corn bunting, cuckoo, green woodpecker, grey partridge, kestrel, linnet, skylark, spotted flycatcher, tawny owl, yellowhammer, whitethroat and willow tit were also heard and seen here in the breeding season in those days.Male and female sparrowhawks now follow birds into the feeder tree from time to time.Greenfinches were absent during the winter, but a male and two females have been coming to the feeders since 6 April and 2 peacock butterflies were in the garden on 7 April.
At the April meeting, Eddie Andrassy reported what is probably the earliest Yorkshire record of reed warbler, seen at Calder wetlands, so I thought I’d send a note to the Wakefield Express. They have kindly put it on the Wakefield Express website.
“The mild spring weather and southerly breezes of late has brought an influx of spring migrants with chiffchaff, willow warbler, wheatear and even swallow all being seen in Wakefield this past week or so. These are all the usual suspects for an early arrival but what has been of more interest to local birdwatchers is the early arrival of a reed warbler on 6th April at Calder Wetlands (just behind the Swan & Cygnet pub on Denby Dale Road).
Reed warblers are a fairly non-descript bird, a little brown job or LJB as birders are apt to call them, spending the winter months in sub-Saharan Africa but head north to Europe in the spring to breed deep in our reedbeds. Although it is possible to see reed warblers quite readily in the reedbeds around Wakefield, they are very much a secretive bird and prefer to sing from deep within the phragmites reed. For such a small bird they have a great vocal range, a loud voice and they are easily recognised by their slow chattering song but they are also great mimics too! What makes this record unusual is that it is a couple of weeks early and could well be the earliest ever spring record in Yorkshire. Although he might have to wait a week or so for a mate, he will certainly get the pick of the reedbeds to set up territory.”