It was cool and cloudy when I left for my patch walk at 06:00hrs. Some songsters still performed well though. The LESSER WHITETHROAT which has made its territory in the electricity sub-station on Ashes lane, has sung non-stop since its arrival, indicating it hasn't attracted a mate yet. COLLARED DOVE, ROBIN, WOODPIGEON, SONGTHRUSH, WREN, BLACKBIRD, CARRION CROW, LINNET, all went on the list within a couple of minutes, and GREENFINCH, CHAFFINCH, KESTREL, GREENWOODPECKER, DUNNOCK and MAGPIE joined them before I entered the tree nursery, which is just 250 yards into my walk.
I could here the CUCKOO calling from the lake area whilst I was in the nursery, and 4 STOCK DOVES flew up from the bare ground in front of me, 3 MALLARDS flew over, 2 drakes and a duck, they have been harrassing that poor duck for the past month, I always see them together! A LONG TAILED TIT was seen by the small run off pond on the edge of the nursery, and as I left to enter the sheep pasture field just before Migrant Alley I added ROOK, GREAT TIT and GOLDFINCH to the list. I crossed Ashes Lane to enter migrant alley, and heard the usual crowd of HOUSE SPARROWS in one of the large gardens, and also got STARLING on the list.
At Migrant Alley, PIED WAGTAILS, SKYLARKS and JACKDAWS were seen, and 2 JAYS flew low into the scrub to the north of the maize field. A few SWALLOWS flew over, making a half hearted alarm call, I scanned the sky for a Sparrowhawk, and found............a HOBBY (95) ! It flew without stopping around, off to the south west, its arrival is earlier than the mean date by 5 days, but just one day earlier than last year, superb little falcons!
Around the colege stables BLUE TIT was added to the growing list, as was a singing BLACKCAP, heard singing from a small patch of cover there. I made my way down the stream, that runs next to the college, and found BULLFINCH, PHEASANT and amazingly the first CHIFFCHAFF, they weren't singing well today! A MISTLE THRUSH squawked at a Magpie that was too near it's nest site, and as I crossed the stream to get into the college grounds and gardens I heard a GOLDCREST singing. The only new bird for the day list seen in the college area was a MOORHEN, but as I left, and crossed the sports pitch a new species for the month, a BLACK HEADED GULL, flew over, a good May species for my patch!
I made my way across to the Scrub at Migrant Alley and was pleased to hear at least 2 TURTLE DOVES singing again, along with a WHITETHROAT. A few minutes skywatching before heading of over to the lake area produced two more gull species, HERRING and LESSER BLACK BACKED.
Over at the lake/scrub area I added CANADA GOOSE, COAL TIT and 2 GARDEN WARBLERS to my list, making 46 species, I could probably make the 50 today I thought to myself. A calling GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER brought that total one more closer, and even better, as I passed through the edge of the wet wood I saw my first TREECREEPER of the month. Another stint at migrant alley was called for, to try and get the 2 species to make it 50 for the day. Within 20 mins of taking my seat, both the PEREGRINES were seen, I am getting these birds almost daily now! 10 mins later the 50 was achieved when a SWIFT flew low over, another new species for the May list!
I only got a couple of pics today. This Whitethroat was in the Scrub area by the lake, a different bird from yesterdays photo.
Also this fox. I was sitting on a bench at the college gardens, when a Rabbit went belting past me. It wasn't running from me, I thought. So I sat and waited to see what had spooked it - hoping for a Stoat, some minutes later this fox came out!