The possibility of finding a spring migrant felt bleak as I left for my walk this morning. A cold NW wind blew and it was dull and damp, so much so I didn't even take my camera out. The birds didn't take to kindly to the return of wintry weather, and many didn't show or make themselves heard. One of my first stops was the wild bird crop at the west end of Ashes lane, a few YELLLOWHAMMER, and REEDBUNTING were here, but it was only 06:30, so many I suspect were yet to arrive. The small holding produced exactly what I expected really, GREEN WOODPECKER, JAY, GOLDCREST and a bit more unusually a pair of TEAL, that were on the run of pool from the small set of greenhouses, not recorded Teal since the 12th.
I walked slowly through the wet woods, and the first spits of rain started to fall, but the MISTLE THRUSH was again singing from his prominant perch, relishing whatever the weather threw at him, I scanned the pools for the Mallard ducklings, without success, but did see a TREECREEPER as well as the ever present MOORHENS, also I heard a few SISKIN going over. On the footpath that leads to the lake, I took at look at the recently discovered LONG TAILED TITS nest, a pair were in the vacinity, and the same GREAT TIT from yesterday started to scold me as I watched them. At the lake a CORMORANT sat on it's high perch over the lake, and 4 MALLARDS with 8 CANADA GEESE were on the water, but nothing more exciting than that.
Once I got over to Migrant Alley, the rain started proper, and the wind got stronger, and it felt decidedly cold, a more foul mix of weather I couldn't imagine! I stepped up the pace a bit, and all I saw across the fields were the Corvids, ROOKS, JACKDAWS and CARRION CROWS, however a lone SKYLARK got up the fight to hang in the wind a give some of it's trilling song. It was a relief to get to the shelter of the college grounds, but little was added to my day list here, just LINNET, COAL TIT and PIED WAGTAIL. By now i'd had enough, and walked the quickest way home back through migrant alley, the last species on the list was a pair of LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS that flew over, they tumbled and soared in the wet and windy conditions loving every minute of it!
I got in, changed my wet stuff, and watched the garden for an hour or so, where I again saw the male BRAMBLING, also the first WREN of the month came in, the 23rd species for the month, equalling the highest March total set back in both 2003 and 2007.
By 12:30 the weather was drying up, and a bright spell appeared, feeling cheated of my proper mornings walk I decided to go out and sit at the horse jump over at Migrant Alley. Although the sun shone the cool northerly wind was still blowing, and I had several near misses from hefty looking showers, that passed to the west of me. I heard a BULLFINCH call from a nearby Blackthorn tree, a species not seen earlier, and a SPARROWHAWK flapped slowly over, in the sunshine. Then, it happened, that familiar trilling was heard, and up in the bluest part of the sky, my first SWALLOW (81) of the year appeared, it circled the Greenhouse complex once, and went on it's way, heading NW. Welcome back my friend ! you just made a bad day into a brilliant one!
Below. Swallow!!!! Not the best pic. in the world, but it's a gem to me.