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Wheatears suffer in wet cold weather

Being the first back from Africa usually means you get to bag the territory of your choice, however this year it might not have been such a good idea as over last weekend in the unusually cold and wet weather where could these little birds have been finding insects?

This could mean starvation and death as there are very few handouts in these territories for Wheatears but there are handouts in those gardens where mealworms are being fed. Sadly very few of our migrant birds are able to find much on our bird tables.

I can’t remember a migrant taking food or mealworms from my garden but the Robins have young at the moment and they will certainly appreciate mealworms. Starlings also have young now and they would love to get at some of the mealworms I am putting out for the Robins and Sparrows but they can’t. As much as I want the Starlings to rear their young they will have to make do with the suet and soaked raisins that I always give them at this time of year.

Wheatears are usually seen standing upright out in the open running about catching insects. I took this photo of one crouched down sheltering behind some rushes in Swaledale. The temperature that day was 2°C with a fresh northerly wind blowing. Will he still be there next week?