06:30 this morning and hey, the suns out! But the morning flattered to deceive, within the hour the clouds rolled in and the cold northerly wind got up..... grrrrrrr, by the time I had finished my walk, and got myself ready for a family outing, the sun had returned, double..... grrrrrr!!!!
While the sun shone early on, the birds were quite active, WREN, COLLARED DOVE, BLUE TIT, BLACKBIRD, JACKDAW, WOODPIGEON, HOUSE SPARROW, and CHAFFINCH were all heard singing within 2 minutes of leaving. A little further up Ashes Lane the first BLACKCAP of the day was heard from one of the large gardens, and GOLDFINCH, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, YELLOWHAMMER, and DUNNOCK all joined the list before I turned off the lane to head for the small holding. A SPARROWHAWK flew low over whilst I was there, which set off a GREEN WOODPECKER alarming loudly, and the first ROBIN was heard, a bit belatedly, as they are normally first on the list!
As I entered the wet woods, the clouds drifted over the sun, and the birds went much quieter from then on, it was like the flick of a switch. A MAGPIE croaked, a JAY squawked, and a GREAT TIT called, while on the pools a MOORHEN flapped across the water, and another fresh brood of MALLARD ducklings were seen, 6 this time, lets hope they have better luck than the last lot.
At the lake just CANADA GEESE were seen, and song from CHIFFCHAFF and more Blackcaps came from the scrub area, but there was no sign of either the Lesser Whitethroat, or Nightingale that might be the next migrant arrival.
Halfway round my walk, I stopped of for a breakfast snack, and before setting of out, I put on a fleece under my coat, and a scarf round my neck! I had just 38 species on my list, it was going to be another disappointing april day. I crossed the tree nursery, and heard the WHITETHROAT, but nothing else much was about. The next species on my list was a SKYLARK, seen at Migrant Alley, and then a couple of GREYLAG GEESE flew over. I saw 4 SWALLOWS battling against the strengthening cold wind, as I passed the college stables, but the walk around the college grounds only added a SONGTHRUSH to my list.
I walked back through an empty migrant alley and felt disappointed in the day list of just 43, especially as no more spring migrants had turned up, on this my final easter holiday walk. Just then the phone rang, it was the missus, the owner of one of the lakes (who I am friendly with) had rung to say there was a LITTLE EGRET on the lake. Great! Another new one for the April list, and the first ever Little Egret to actually be on my patch, not flying over. I rushed across to the lake area, I was of course the furthest point from it! Whilst rushing across the tree nursery, a KESTREL flew up from the ditch there, nice, but no time to stop and admire. I got to the lake and scanned it thoroughly, no Egret, I looked again, there it was! In a tree, I fired off a few distant shots, and went and thanked the owner of the lake for reporting it to me. As I left I heard a CUCKOO, it was on the telephone wires going across the scrub area, a bit distant, but I took a photo anyway.
So in the end it was an ok day, with 46 species seen, back to work tomorrow, and back to the afternoon visits - bet its a sunny morning tomorrow!!
Below is the Cuckoo on the wires.
And here's the Little egret, poor photo, but the light and distance, and all that......