The Wheatears are Back

The first wheatear of 2012

Just to note that I saw a wheatear for the first time this year on the Chayne this morning. That’s not to say that it’s the first wheatear – I have a feeling that they’ve been around for the last 48 hours, but I just hadn’t managed to spot one. A few were seen during the long process of fire fighting earlier in the week, but since we weren’t on the Chayne, it didn’t count. There have been reliable reports of birds in Britain for the last fortnight, and some of them seem to pass straight over Galloway on their way north. A reader of this blog wrote to tell me that he had seen three wheatears up in Angus six days ago, so perhaps my birds are actually a little slow when it comes to returning.

The first wheatear on the Chayne was the 25th March in 2010 and the 28th March in 2011, so even if I am a day late in spotting the returning migrants, it’s still quite a good grouping. Wheatears are not only the upland equivalent of swallows, bringing the first proper signs of spring, but they are also fascinating little critters in their own right. I plan to look at wheatears in a little more depth this year, so I’m looking forward to some sunny days when I can get up and watch them at close hand.

Next up, swallows…

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