This post covers April, May and June. For part one, see here; for later in the year, watch this space.
Late March and early April saw our first out-of-the-UK, post-lockdowns trip in over two years; a planned early spring Israel trip again sadly fell through, and so - despite a summer trip to the States already booked - we Plan B'd it with a much-needed and enjoyed fortnight in the USA to visit family.
New England is still a long way from spring as we know it at that time of year, and so we were prepared for the low temperatures and bone-chilling winds we encountered; it was a family trip, after all, and any birds or birding would be bonus collateral. Still, the garden (and surrounding area) of the family homestead in the woods of Western Massachusetts always provides, and there were many common species to enjoy. (More here).
Immature Bald Eagle
We also managed a couple (very) sub-zero sessions at the local reserves of Silvio O. Conte and Amethyst Brook in NM Mass, and a session at Barton's Cove (near Greenfield), with raptors and ducks at least playing ball.
Almost too many highlights to mention, but every day was different - whether it was drumming Snipe, singing Tree Pipits and Redstarts, silently cruising Goshawks, alarming Lapwings and Curlews, territorial Whinchats, neon Yellowhammers, repetitive Cuckoos, surprise Turtle Dove territories, even more surprising Honey-buzzard activities (in a non-traditional area) or any number of other breeding delights. here and here. here
Of the latter, surveying along the muddy banks of the Humber continued unabated, with the addition of a Breeding Bird Survey (over multiple visits) at an industrial site by KGV Dockside in Hull. Despite it being noisy, constantly disturbed, full of heavy machinery and working factories, crisscrossed by lines of juggernauts and next to a chemical plant (sounds grim, I know), it was the perfect illustration of how nature really can thrive pretty much anywhere, but also how you need time and patience to fully notice and appreciate (and therefore accurately record) it.
Breeding Black Redstart, Hull docks....
Over the course of my visits there I found breeding Black Redstarts (extremely rare in Yorkshire, and likely the only county breeding record of the year), two pairs of Little Ringed Plovers, Shelduck, Cuckoo, eight warbler species and plenty more.
Guiding consisted of a series of Coastal Birding Discovery Days from late April to mid-May up here along the coast, and also a week at Spurn at the end of May, staying at the Obs; happy to say there was plenty to enjoy on both, with a nice mix of common and scarce species at iconic Yorkshire coast locations. (More of both to follow in Spring '23 - see here).