The weather is still settled and sunny, but a cool easterly wind picked up this afternoon. My first patch visit for April, and my efforts to make inroads on the April target of 71 (set in both 2006, 2008) started with a quick look over at the scrubby orchard, adjacent the lake, mainly to listen for that Blackcap, I heard, NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER, COAL TIT, CHAFFINCH, GREENFINCH, BULLFINCH, SONGTHRUSH, MISTLE THRUSH and BLACKBIRD all singing, but no Blackcap, but it wont be long now......I hope!
Only a quick scan of the lake was had, and a GREY HERON, 6 CANADA GEESE a few MOORHEN and 2 drake MALLARD were all was to be seen.
As I passed through the tree nursery, I had a nice encounter, a Slow Worm! Only the second record of one on my patch, it was a brief encounter, but I got a quick snap of it.
My usual stint at Migrant Alley was a pretty cold affair, as the wind had really picked up across the fields. I heard the LITTLE OWLS calling, a nice species for the April list, as was the LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL that flew over, and the pair of BUZZARDS briefly seen high up , before disapearing into the blue. However, as I stood up from my seat, and walked over to the hedgerow to take cover from the annoying wind, I saw a small bird fly low over the plough and sit atop a fence post, it was about 60 yards away, but I could see it was a chat, I tried sneaking up on it, but never got to more than within 30 yards of it, I took some distant photo's, and watched it for sometime, feeding, flitting out to the plough to pick up and insect and sometimes flying up and plucking one in mid air. I took it to be a STONECHAT (82) but when I looked at the photo's it looked like a Whinchat, in some respects, especially the light eye stripe, but it's still a bit early for them - isn't it ? have a look at the pics and see what you think, the're not very good as the wind was buffeting me all the time!
Above and below the Stonechat, or is it ?