The past few days have seen an arrival of Ring Ouzels en masse into the UK, with good numbers of migrants appearing in suitable habitats – mainly hillsides – in neighbouring counties. Buckinghamshire has had the lion’s share with at least eight at Ivinghoe Beacon, while seven were counted at Pegsdon Hills in Bedfordshire.
In Northants today, 14th April, two smart males were present throughout the morning at Borough Hill, feeding in open pasture on the summit some 300 metres north of the radio station compound. When disturbed they would take cover in a short, low stretch of bushes or in an isolated clump of hawthorns, where they could be surprisingly difficult to see. Thanks are due to Jonathan Philpot for supplying the below photo.
While these two were being watched, two more flew northeast at 11.00 but they were not relocated. Other migrants on the hill were two Northern Wheatears, close to the area which held the Ring Ouzels, and a big, swarthy, orange-bellied male Greenland Wheatear on the southern slope above the industrial estate. Although this may seem an unusually early arrival date for this race, one was trapped at Portland Birds Obs on 8th April – see http://tinyurl.com/crgc3jy.