Monday, 27 April 2015

A cool morning, but at least the sun was shining, the cloud only encroaching later on into the morning.

I headed off out for a full patch walk and in the 5 hour visit found a good tally of 48 species, none were new for the month or year lists, but there was plenty to keep me interested.

The highlight for me came early on, when another YELLOW WAGTAIL was seen on one of the paddocks at Migrant Alley, a superb looking male. A few distant shots were taken, but it was disturbed as I sat and waited for it to come nearer, as were the 20-30 Gulls that were on the adjcaent sheep pasture, most were HERRING GULLS but 6 were LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS.

Distant Yellow Wagtail

It came a touch closer...........

......................Before being disturbed, it then flew off NW

A good check of the fence rails and posts revealed no 'chats' today, but as I passed the Greenhouse Copse, listening all the while to the singing CHIFFCHAFF and BLACKCAP, I saw the LITTLE OWL was staring at me from its roost tree, I took a couple of shots of it, semi shaded as it was.

Little Owl

One WHITETHROAT sang from the Greenhouse Grounds, where there was also a pair of LONG TAILED TITS moving along the boundary hedgerow.

Crossing the Ashes Lane Fields, I saw a BUZZARD fly from an adjacent large garden, then into the Wet Woods, where a TREECREEPER was heard singing, and both GREEN and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKERS called. At the Scrubby Woods I added GOLDCREST, BULLFINCH, MISTLETHRUSH, SONGTHRUSH, COAL TIT and STOCK DOVE to the days list, but Jay and Nuthatch were not seen at all today.

The lakes were very quiet, but I did see the first GREYLAG GOOSE goslings of the year on the island of the main lake, good to get the 2015 successfully bred list off to a start!

I had a good three hour sky watch later in the morning and into the afternoon, where from my seat at Migrant Alley, in some warm sunshine, I had many sightings of multiple Buzzards, at one time eight were up together, I also had multiple sightings of SPARROWHAWKS and the local KESTRELS, as well as flyovers from YELLOWHAMMER, PIED WAGTAIL and CANADA GEESE,  plus the local SWALLOWS and LINNETS were watched as they moved about the area.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

It was cold and wet this morning with a chilly breeze, so I decided to wait a while before going out for a patch visit.

As soon as the rain stopped I was off out, though this wasn't until 10:00hrs. I only had just over an hour, so decided on a walk around the paddocks and sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, which turned out far better than I had expected.

On scanning the fence rails and posts, I was very pleased to see a superb male WHINCHAT (88,76), what a fantastic bird! It dropped down and caught the occasional insect, then flew back to the fence post, but I had not bothered to bring my camera out due to the poor weather! As I watched the Whinchat, a YELLOW WAGTAIL flew over, and 13 HERRING GULLS were seen on the adjacent field.

I decided in the end that I would go and get my camera, in the hope that the Whinchat would stay put, so the race was on! I saw both a COMMON BUZZARD and the male KESTREL on the walk back home, then, on the way back to Migrant Alley, a SPARROWHAWK flew over the Greenhouses.

It took a while for me to find the Whinchat again, as the dog walkers had now come out in force and had disturbed the bird. I saw it about 150 meters from where it was originally was, so set about trying to get a bit nearer to it, which I did, getting to about 12 meters from it. I took a few record shots in the poor light and whilst I did another YELLOW WAGTAIL flew over, they were a feature of the short visit, as on my walk home a small group of 7 more flew over, Migrant Alley has come to life all of a sudden!

Whinchats are recorded in most years at Migrant Alley, but mostly on Autumn passage, this is only the 3rd Spring Whinchat of the 14 years of recording, the others were also males, seen in 2002 and 2009, both in May, so todays bird is new to the combined April list, which now stands at 113!

The months list moves on to 76, the joint third highest April tally and only 3 behind the best ever April tally, which was achieved back in 2013