I had a brief hour at Allerthorpe on Friday after my morning of bird surveys - which was incredibly busy compared to the last 8 weeks on the site, no Barn Owls but great views of a Peregrine diving after a small flock of Wood Pigeon. Plenty of birds heading north with a few birds starting to show signs of setting up breeding territories e.g. Lapwing and Skylark spring to mind. The resident pair of Kestrel were observed copulating too.
Common Kestrel © Andreas Trepte 2009
A quick walk around Allerthorpe produced a small flock of Redpoll sps. Perhaps totalling round 30-40 birds. They were quite flighty and the light was appalling unless they came either into the low bushes or onto the ground. There was no sign of the Arctic Redpoll, however there was some really smart Mealies in with the Lessers and they gave good views especially so when they were side by side in the low trees and on the ground amongst the heather, allowing excellent opportunities to compare these highly variable birds.
While we were waiting for the Redpolls to appear, flocks of 16 and 3 Goosander were noted flying through and a decent flock of Yellowhammer was recorded, at least 30 birds - no Pine Buntings unfortunately! A roving tit flock contained Blue, Great, Long-tailed, Coal and Marsh Tits with Treecreeper also noted.
STOP PRESS: GOT THE RUFOUS TURTLE DOVE THIS MORNING - DETAILS TOMORROW!