Suggestions for April 2007:-
April is migration time and the right weather conditions can bring impressive falls. If the migrating birds have to fly through mist or drizzle they will often land at the first opportunity which means places such as Start Point can, in the right conditions, be full of small passerines. These will usually be warblers but almost anthing can turn up.
If you wish to follow the arrivals then look up the BTO migration website ( www.bto.org/migwatch ).
If the weather conditions over europe are right then there is always a possibility of overshoots, species such as Red Rumped Swallows, Kentish Plovers and Hoopoes which would not normally come this far north but get caught up in a fast moving airstream and deposited on our shores briefly before re-orienting themselves and heading back south.
Some species may have already started breeding ( Tawny Owls, Ravens, Crossbills etc. ) and therefore we must be aware of the dangers facing nesting birds, especially disturbance and egg theft. Because of these threats some sightings will not be posted ( i.e. Goshawks, Woodlarks, Cirl Buntings etc. ) except at sites that everyone knows ( i.e. Cirl Buntings at Prawle ) or when the bird in question is obviously not breeding. Please keep sending all interesting sightings anway.
With the onset of the breeding season there are many displays and songs to discover and learn, personal favourites include Ravens ( aerial tumbling and even flying upside down ) and Lapwing ( flying displays and bizarre cals ), regrettably Lapwings are now rare breeders in the county but their display can still be seen at Exminster Marshes.
There`s still time to clean out and repair nestboxes, as well as installing new ones. If you have a box in your garden for Blue Tits, why not try another with a larger hole for Great Tits ? Although tits are territorial and will not nest near another pair of the same species, often you can find different species nesting in close proximity, other species, notably House Sparrrows are more colonial and several boxes, placed close together, may succeed. http://whdevon.mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/
I would ask all birders to help in opposing moves to destroy a valuable habitat ( used by Dartford Warblers among others ), further information on http://www.dartmoor-preservation-assoc.org.uk
You should by now have sent your 2006 sightings to the County Recorder ( see contacts page ), if left too late they may be omitted from the Devon Bird Report.
Some of the birders who regularly visit Dawlish Warren have set up a website on this important site:- http://www.dawlishwarren.co.uk
A further plea for assistance:- I have been helping a local ringer with a project on Pied / White Wagtails. We would appreciate any sightings of migrating birds and the location of roosts, any information can be e-mailed using the link on the home page - many thanks.