A slight frost was evident this morning, but at least the wind had dropped, and the sun shone for the first 90mins of my walk, before a bank of cloud drifted over the area. A really good day list of 53 species was seen, a mixture of winter and summer species, with all the resident birds showing in their respective habitats.
Both the YELLOWHAMMER and REED BUNTING were feeding together in the ''bird crop'' along ashes lane, and I heard one of the latter give some of it's simple song, a sound not often heard on my patch. A GREY LAG GOOSE flew over, towards the lake area, and a flock of 7 noisy HERRING GULLS came from the opposite direction, NUTHATCH, GOLDCREST, TREECREEPER, GREEN WOODPECKER were all audible as I passed the small holding, and the pair of TEAL were again on the small run off pool. Yet another GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER was heard drumming in the wet woods, one of at least 5 I heard from various places during the morning. The lake area had a pair of CORMORANT on the favoured tree perch, and a GREY HERON fished from the waters edge, whilst just 2 pairs of MALLARD and 4 MOORHEN were on the water. I listened for what will probably be the next spring migrant to appear - the Blackcap, but it wasn't heard, although BULLFINCH called, and both MISTLE and SONG THRUSH sang lustily, along with the ever increasing numbers of CHIFFCHAFF, giving a more spring feel to the morning. Making my way back to the woods, I saw that the LONG TAILED TITS were again in the vacinity of their nest, but I dont think they have layed yet, whilst above them, in a large oak tree, 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, a Mistle thrush and a pair of COAL TITS all chased about. The stripped out part of the tree nursery was devoid of birds, but the part with the trees still in held 3 female PHEASANTS, and on the boundary, I saw a FIELDFARE - could this be the last of winter ?
A SKYLARK was singing as Migrant Alley, and 3 MEADOW PIPITS were out on the plough, as I made my way over to the college grounds 3 LESSER BLACK BACKED and a single BLACK HEADED GULL could be seen on the sports pitch. The stream besides the college had at least 4 SISKIN taking a drink, they were expertly balancing on pieces of matted vegetation, to get to the water. The rest of the college grounds only gave me a STOCK DOVE to add to my day list, however, as I left for another visit to migrant alley, I noticed a COMMON BUZZARD soaring up high.
The next 90 mins I spent sat on the horse jump, watching the sky and fields, where I added LITTLE OWL, which was heard from the copse, SPARROWHAWK, and best of all 3 more SWALLOWS, which danced in the air above the Greenhouse Complex for some minutes, before heading off NW.
With all my March ''full walks'' finished now, I have just 2 days of casual visits to bump up the march species total, which has already surpassed the 2005 record - more of that on tuesday. I hope I still may add Grey Wagtail, or another spring migrant to that list!
Above. One of the LBB Gulls, and below one of the GS Woodpeckers.