FIVE TO FIND in April
April is the month when the bulk spring migration really gets going after the pioneering hardy movers of March. Waders, terns, chats, hirundines and warblers lead the charge. Many arrive while our winterers are still present, making this month of change an exciting time to build a great day listlist.
TELL US WHAT YOU’VE SEEN! LITTLE GULL twitter.com/birdwatchingmag facebook.com/birdwatchingmag
The world’s smallest gull is a far cry from the vulgar beasts who live at the municipal dump or who steal your chips at the seaside. It is a neat and delicate beauty, more like a marsh tern than a larger gull, at least in its behaviour, but also in size. In the spring they pass along our coasts and may cross over land, turning up to pick emerging insects from still water bodies in a buoyant, elegant, swooping flight. Adults have clean upperwings, without any black, and dark underwings. First-winters have a Kittiwakelike W pattern on the upperwings, and second-winters have an adult-like plumage with small black dots in the wing tips. SEDGE WARBLER
A relative of the Reed Warbler, the Sedge Warbler also has a preference for waterside vegetation, including reedbeds. It is one of the earliest warblers to arrive and on arrival delivers its rambling, over virtuoso chattering, whistling, warbling song. Sedge Warblers are one of the few warblers to habitually perform a song-flight (the other common one being the Whitethroat). So, any little brown singing warbler rising and parachuting from a reedbed is very likely to be a Sedge Warbler. They are easily identified if seen well, by the bold white (or off white) supercilium (‘eyebrow’) and the streaked upperparts.