Tuesday, 31 March 2009

The weather seems to have settled down now, and it was a pleasure to walk part of my patch this afternoon, the last visit of this month. There was very little wind, and if a Blackcap was to sing I was sure to hear it, but despite much listening, along the smallholding, wet woods, and lake area, none was heard. The small holding did have a nice surprise for me though, when I found another Grass Snake, this time I managed to sneak up on it a get a photo or two. Upon entering the wet woods, the call of what sounded like a Nuthatch was heard, but when I tracked the sound down, I found it was a GREAT TIT, expertly mimicking a Nuthatch, it had me fooled - for a little time!

I checked the LONG TAILED TITS nest as I passed it on the way to the lake, and all was ok, the pair were in the vacinity chirriping to each other. At the lake, the only notworthy birds were a GREY HERON and 4 SISKIN, the latter in an Alder tree in one of the nearby gardens. Whilst I walked the edge of the lake I noticed the 'Ladies Smock' had come into flower.

Over at Migrant Alley, I sat for half an hour and skywatched, no Swallows showed today, just a pair of Grey heron flew south, and a SKYLARK sang up high. I did a circuit of the fields, and passed the scrubby headland, but only CHIFFCHAFF was of note, one of at least 7 on my patch singing now.

So March ends, and the species target of 65, which was set in 2005, has been well passed. This March I have recorded 69 species ! 4 of them new to any March, Pochard, Firecrest, Sand martin, and the Mealy Redpoll, which was a patch tick. The combined March total now stands at 80 species, with an average of 60 species.

I 'm looking forward to the challenge of April!

Below are some shots of the Grass snake

Below is the flowering Ladies Smock, a favourite of the orange Tip butterfly

Last of all the Grey Heron at the lake.


fishing guy said...

Warren: What a nice show from nature. The snake pictures are superb. Your Grey Heron looks alot like our Great Blue Heron.

Greenie said...

Warren ,
Well done with the Grass Snake shots .
An Orange Tip was sighted in Sussex yesterday , so keep an eye on the Ladies Smock . They also use Garlic Mustard as a food plant .
As for the Great Tit , how could he think he could fool you ?

Dean said...

Yeh, well done with the Grass Snake, Warren. A species i`ve yet to capture on camera.

Chris said...

Hi warren,
69 species!! Do you realise that in one month you almost see as many species as the number breeding in Iceland!!! Ok it is a bit more now as common crossbill reproduced in March this year around Reykjavik, but the official number is 71!!! On one month and especially March, I maybe managed to see 29 different species, but the weather is still so bad, that very few breeders are here, Even the divers are late and the puffin too!!!
You were brave to take pictures of that snake, I will never be able to do that, I'm so afraid of them!!!

ShySongbird said...

Lovely post Warren, beautiful photos of the Grass Snake and the Heron. Also lovely to see the Ladies Smock, I have always loved that but don't see it as much as when I was little.

Kelly said...

...very cool snake and great photos of it. Your Grey Herons look a bit like our Great Blues. I'll have to read up on them for similarities.

North West Birds said...

Cool reptiles. That Grey heron is really close to they great blue herons we get here. I like the slow worm too.

Fraser Simpson said...

Really nice images of the Grass Snake Warren! Hope you have a very successful April on you patch.