Nature Notes – April 2022

by Andy Johnson

The warm weather has brought out cherry blossom and spring flowers, and thrushes and blackbirds are in full song especially at dusk. The first migrants have arrived – chiffchaffs with their repetitive and monotonous song and blackcaps which are truly melodious. Buzzards are performing spectacular mating displays, wheeling and diving whilst giving distinctive ‘mewing’ calls.

Red kiteRed kites, which have been seen over the village, have narrower wings than buzzards and distinctive v-shaped tails, which they use as rudders, allowing great manoeuvrability with slow flight. Each year more are seen locally and I am sure they will start breeding soon. They were first released at Harewood House 23 years ago, and then in the Derwent Valley in 2004.

Look out for pink footed geese and whooper swans on their migration to Iceland and Greenland. By the end of April many of our summer migrants will arrive. Cuckoos, with geolocators, are flying north through west Africa after wintering in the Congo basin. They will  arrive in England during April and May. Summer is not far away!