Sunday, 1 May 2016

Another slight frost this morning soon dispersed, leaving a day of warm sunshine and light winds.

As is usual on the first day of the month, I undertook a full patch walk, here's what was recorded, in the order it was seen or heard ;

CHAFFINCH, GREENFINCH, GOLDCREST, GOLDFINCH, BLACKBIRD, BLUE TIT, COLLARED DOVE, WOODPIGEON and STARLING were all picked up as I walked the short stretch of Ashes lane to get to the Greenhouse Grounds, where I added WREN, ROBIN, SWALLOW, DUNNOCK, JACKDAW, CARRION CROW, PIED WAGTAIL, KESTREL and LESSER WHITETHROAT to the days list. Out on the sheep pasture and paddocks of Migrant Alley ROOK, MAGPIE, PHEASANT and a flyover skein of 8 GREYLAG GEESE were seen, while the Wooded Headland and then the Greenhouse Copse provided, SONGTHRUSH, GREAT TIT, GREEN WOODPECKER, CHIFFCHAFF, COMMON WHITETHROAT, and BLACKCAP for the monthly tally.

High House Lane and the adjacent Bustard Hill only added LINNET and HOUSE SPARROW to the May list, the next habitat, the Small Holding added TREECREEPER and LITTLE OWL, the latter species sitting in the same place as I saw it two days ago  :-)

Through the Wet Woods, and MALLARD, NUTHATCH, MOORHEN, and STOCK DOVE were found, but the Scrubby Woods only added LONG TAILED TIT to the months total. A couple more species were picked up on the lakes, namely MUTE SWAN, and CANADA GOOSE, plus the bankside scrub had a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER present.

A circuit of the Ashes Lane Fields and Pub Field provided SKYLARK and MISTLETHRUSH to take the monthly tally into the forties, then an hours Sky watch from my seat at Migrant Alley was made, where I added just HERRING GULL, SWIFT, BUZZARD and lastly, LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL.

A few glaring omissions today then, like Jay, Bullfinch and COAL TIT, but the latter was seen at my garden feeders when I got home, as was a bonus species, the SISKIN, a pair are still visiting the sunflower hearts.

So the May species list kicks off with 48 species, a long way behind the record May haul of 2014, which was 74 species, also a way to go to get to the mean average May tally for the previous 5 Mays, that being 71.

Despite the good weather, just this Whitethroat was photographed today.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

There was a slight frost this morning, but that soon melted away under some reasonably warm sunshine.

For the last patch visit of the month I decided to walk the Pub Field, Ashes Lane Fields, Migrant Alley and the Greenhouse grounds, plus have a bit of a sky watch. I wasn't expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised when I added GREY WAGTAIL (73)to the months list when one alighted on the old shack at the Ashes Lane Fields, then later, as I sky watched, I saw the first 3 SWIFTS (87,74) of the year wheeling over the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, a fantastic sight, welcome back! Their arrival is just one day later than the 15year median first sighting date, but is the first record of an April swift since 2012.

LESSER WHITETHROAT, COMMON WHITETHROAT, BLACKCAP, CHIFFCHAFF and SWALLOW represented the other summer species seen today, the Lesser Whitethroat looks to have attracted a mate, as two birds were seen chasing along Ashes Lane  :-)

BUZZARD and KESTREL were the only raptors seen on my sky watch today and HERRING GULL was the only Gull species.

April ended with a tally of 74 bird species recorded, which is the 5th best April out of the 15 recorded and one short of the mean tally for the previous 5 Aprils. It was disappointing not to see a Cormorant fly over, the first April this species has not been recorded, but more than disappointing was the absence of the Cuckoo, also a species that has always been recorded in April, another sad local extinction for Pittswood  :-(

On a brighter note, I arrived home to find the years first record of Orange Tip Butterfly, when one flitted around my garden, giving me a few photo's  :-)

Orange Tip.