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A strange month in that after the usual rush of records in the first week, the emphasis moved to garden birds and local walks, as car usage became restricted to essential journeys. It is pleasing to report that most responsible birders appear to have met that requirement. For the first few days, therefore, two Great Northern Divers were available as was the trio of egret species.
Whooper Swans and Pink-footed Geese continued to pass through the county, the drake Ring-necked Duck reappeared, and there were some high counts of Mandarin Ducks. Waders brought hopes of Spring with the arrival of Oystercatchers and Curlew whilst the Ruff at Carsington Water may have stayed all month but could only be recorded until the 4th.
The list of gulls included an exceptional count of Herring Gull at Ogston Res. There was a new highest count for Ring-necked Parakeets, an excellent showing of Barn Owls and reports of single Black Redstart, Firecrest and Great Grey Shrike. With so many observers at home, and Big Garden Birdwatch at the month end, there were some impressive garden counts as well as a good number of Blackcap records.
Bryan Barnacle and Kate Barnacle