Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Dense fog this morning meant another delayed start to my patch walk, missing the best part of the day in doing so, I hate fog!!

It was still quite foggy when I left at 07:00hrs, so not much was recorded as I did a circuit of Migrant Alley, I could here the LINNETS out on the paddocks, and just about saw a couple of SWALLOWS as they wove around the sheep, CHIFFCHAFF and BLACKCAP gave some weak song in the Wooded Headland, and on finishing the circuit of the fields at the Greenhouse Grounds, 2 COMMON WHITETHROATS were seen.

By the time I reached the Wet Woods the sun had come out, I could here the NUTHATCH around it's nest territory, and a TREECREEPER singing, plus a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER drumming. I checked the MISTLETHRUSH nest as I walked on to the Lakes, she was off the nest when I arrived, but after a few minutes she returned, the male was also nearby, I reckon there are young in the nest now  :-)

On the lakes, the MUTE SWAN was incubating, her partner had moved on to the Main lake, and was harassing the CANADA GEESE and MALLARDS there. At the small lake the GREYLAG GOOSE nest was checked, and I could see that young had hatched out, 2 at least, but viewing was difficult amongst the island vegetation, another species joins the 2014 'bred successfully' list  :-) I gave the ornamental lake a good scan, but there was no sign of any COOT young, just one adult bird again.

A look through the Scrubby Woods didn't reveal any of the hoped for migrant species of Garden Warbler or Turtle Dove, but all the regulars were found, plus the rare sound of the TAWNY OWL was again heard. It was a particular pleasure for me to be able to get some kind of photograph of a BRIMSTONE BUTTERFLY whilst I was there, only my second ever chance of an image of this species.
Not the best shot, but one to savour  :-)
Brimstone Butterfly
I made another visit to the fields and had a skywatch from my seat At Migrant Alley, not much was seen though, the best being a KESTREL, a BUZZARD and 2 LAPWINGS going over.

Later this afternoon I had a walk around the Ashes Lane Field, nothing of any note birdwise was seen, but I did have some other wildlife encounters ......
I chance upon this Bank Vole which was out in the open
But this Lizard is a much rarer sighting on my patch, only the 2nd ever!
It never came fully out into view
But I was desperate to get images of this patch rarity
Looks just like a dinosaur!
Brilliant little creatures I reckon !

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Continual light rain fell throughout my five hour patch visit this morning, but at least there were a few bits of interest about.

Early on in the walk I saw the male KESTREL at the Greenhouse Grounds, the female not being seen for a over a week now suggests she is incubating eggs in the nest box there. A circuit of Migrant Alley was bit more livelier than of late, for as well as the usual ROOKS, CARRION CROWS, JACKDAWS and WOODPIGEONS, half a dozen SWALLOWS were feeding low over sheep pasture, and a nice flock of LINNETS was also seen flitting about one of the paddocks, which is festooned with dandelions, the seed heads of which makes a good meal for the Linnets. At the Wooded Headland there, a pair of CHIFFCHAFFS and a pair of BLACKCAPS were seen, plus the LESSER WHITETHROAT sang again. Just as I came to the end of the circuit of Migrant Alley, a soggy looking male WHEATEAR (70) popped up onto a fence rail, giving close views, a nice species to bring up the 70th for April, I didn't have the camera with me, even if I had of done, the light was too poor for photographs.

In the Wet Woods a male MANDARIN DUCK was seen, but there is no sign yet of any young ones. A NUTHATCH fed his mate through the mud sealed entrance of it's nest, and a couple of GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKERS were about it for here. I checked the MISTLETHRUSH nest as I left the wet Woods, and all is still ok there  :-)

Over on the lakes, a CANADA GOOSE had brought 3 Goslings to the Small lake, the 5th species to have successfully bred on my patch so far this year. The MUTE SWAN and GREYLAG GOOSE were sitting on their respective nests, I can only presume the COOT is on hers, with just one adult being seen, and the nest site concealed in the reeds. Whilst walking the Scrubby Woods, I heard a TAWNY OWL (71) hoot twice from its hidden roost, another one for the April list, which is now up to joint 5th position out of the 13 years, joint with 2006 and 2008. The real target species were the Turtle Dove and Garden Warbler, which were not found this morning, they have dwindled down to just one pair of each now, but i'm hoping that they will return for another summer.

Not a morning for the camera, but this afternoon whilst drinking a cuppa in my garden, I snapped this Nuthatch which is still coming to my feeders, in past years they have ceased to use them by mid April.

Monday, 21 April 2014

After posting my blog update yesterday, the rain ceased and the sun came out by 18:00hrs, so I had an evening stroll around the Greenhouse Grounds, not much was noted, but as I walked back home, this RED LEGGED PARTRIDGE (85,69) was seen running along Ashes Lane,  I don't see many of these, not a ''proper'' bird really, but heh, I count them on my year list  :-)
The light was fading, and it didn't stop running, but I got a shot of it  :-)
This Swallow was also seen perched on the telephone wire
Back to this morning, and after early cloud dispersed, it became sunny and warm, totally the opposite of yesterday. I had a good four hours out, but had to be back early today, it's never the same when you have to keep checking what the time is!

By the end of the visit I had only accumulated 42 species, a very disappointing effort! At least I had a few Summer birds on the list today, the CHIFFCHAFFS, SWALLOWS and BLACKCAPS were joined by the LESSER WHITETHROAT which again sang from the Wooded Headland to the North of Migrant Alley, also the newly arrived COMMON WHITETHROAT was seen along the drainage ditch the runs between the Ashes lane Fields, I also heard the song of the Cuckoo, drifting to my ears from way off my patch, cant count that though.

The Wet Woods and Scrubby Woods provided most of the scarcer regulars, BULLFINCH, GOLDCREST, TREECREEPER, NUTHATCH, LONG TAILED TIT, GREAT SPOTTED and GREEN WOODPECKER, only Coal Tit was missed.

Nothing on the Lake today but the nesting MUTE SWANS, GREYLAG GEESE, and COOTS, plus 6 CANADA GEESE and the MOORHEN family, not a single Mallard was seen though.

No raptor species were seen, and only one Gull species flew over, that being a HERRING GULL, but the lack of an end of walk skywatch was probably to blame for that.

Back home, as I waited for the wife to get herself together for our afternoon outing, I noticed my first damselfly of the year sitting deep in the vegetation of my pond, a LARGE RED, lack of time and being unable to get into the right position meant only a few rushed images of it were obtained, nice to see the first Damselfly out though  :-)
Large Red Damselfly - the first this year
A few Speckled Wood Butterflies were seen this morning too

Sunday, 20 April 2014

A short patch walk was possible this morning before the rain set in, but with the cold wind and dull overcast sky there was little to note, with the one exception of my first COMMON WHITETHROAT (84,68) of the year, which gave just one short burst of song before diving into cover over at the Greenhouse Grounds. Ive been expecting this species to turn up over the last few days, its arrival is just 2 days later than the median average first date for the previous 12 years. The months list creeps up to 68 species now, still only in joint 9th position out of 13 years though, and 7 species behind the mean average species total for the previous 5 Aprils.

I did a circuit of Migrant Alley, and walked the Pub Field, then did a circuit of the Ashes Lane Field, where I sat watched the sky from the shelter of hedgerow. Not an awful lot was recorded though, a few LINNETS were on the paddocks at Migrant Alley, and both CHIFFCHAFF and BLACKCAP sang from the Wooded Headland, the ROOKS, CARRION CROWS and JACKDAWS fed on the sheep pasture and a GREEN WOODPECKER clung to a fence post.

My skywatch produced a GREY HERON, a LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL, 2 HERRING GULLS and a YELLOWHAMMER, plus the sighting of only the second HOUSE MARTIN record this spring, when 2 flew low past me, the only other bird of note was a BUZZARD that got up out of the Wet Woods, before dropping back down again shortly after.

Hopefully a more extensive visit will can be made tomorrow. :-)
Common Whitethroat, another archive image i'm afraid!