Saturday, 26 March 2011

Riparia riparia!

After yesterday's enormous migrant influx (Chiffchaff 3, Wheatear 1) it was straight out at dawn to check the ploughed fields, with dreams of Ouzels and more Wheatears. However, Cuddesdon is very unforgiving on the dream front and such flights of fantasy were quickly laid to rest with the usual fare of Pheasants, Blackbirds and depressing numbers of corvids. Feeling let down by this new area of territory I then check out the usual fields to the east of the village. Blackbirds 13, Ouzles 0. I am virtually back in the village when a small shape flicking above the private pond grabs my attention:
I have to admit my first reaction was "Christ, that's an early House Martin - it's still March!", before the bird wheeled around showing a distinctive lack of a white rump and the true magnitude of the record became apparent: for this was Cuddesdon's first Sand Martin. Or rather Cuddesdon's first 2 Sand Martins, as there were two. They fed for perhaps 45 seconds before gaining height and moving north. This is a truly ridiculous Cuddesdon first, for in an area of intensive arable farmland the only water is three small ponds, never enough to attract hirundines, surely? Or so I thought. Species number 102 for the area, enough to make one sing:

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