It was good to get out for a morning visit to my patch today. The weather looked as though it would brighten up, but it never really did until early afternoon.
I set off at 06:00hrs, along Ashes lane and into the tree nursery, not much bird song could be heard, considering it's now may everything should be singing! All the usual candidates were picked up quickly, ROBIN,BLACKBIRD,GOLDFINCH, CHAFFINCH,LINNET and GREENFINCH were first on the list, followed by JACKDAW, WOODPIGEON,MISTLE THRUSH, BLUE TIT, STARLING and COLLARD DOVE, all much the same as always. I walked the hedgerow that takes me up to migrant alley, and got more of the easy birds PIED WAGTAIL, WHITETHROAT, GREAT TIT, CARRION CROW, MAGPIE and a flyover STOCK DOVE.
At migrant alley I was looking forward to seeing if yesterdays Wheatear had stayed, but no, they had moved on, the only birds seen out on the fields and hedges were WREN, DUNNOCK, and SKYLARK, with ROOK, and a distant SONG THRUSH sang from one of the large gardens. A BLACK HEADED GULL flew SW, well thats something a little different, sometime years I don't see any in the whole of May. Over and around the college stables, HOUSE SPARROWS and SWALLOWS went onto the day list, and I could hear a CHIFFCHAFF and BLACKCAP coming from my next stop, the college grounds and gardens. Here I picked up MOORHEN, MALLARD, GOLDCREST, LONG TAILED TIT and saw overflying HERRING GULL and HOUSE MARTINS, all very nice but nothing to get excited about. This was about to change, for as I left the college gardens, and walked along a short piece of hawthorne hedge, that leads onto the sports pitch, I could hear a quiet 'chuntering' song coming from the hedge, I listened more carefully, and yep, it was a migrant REED WARBLER (97) ! Fantastic, it went on singing, and I looked into the hedge for some 15 mins before i finally got some views of it.
Reed Warbler is one of the bonus species of migrant that I need on my year list if I am to reach the 100 target, I dont often record this bird, especially in spring, this is the fouth spring out of 8 that I have seen one.
I was happy with that! I carried on to the scrub area at the north end of migrant alley, a TURTLE DOVE was on the power lines ''purring'' away, and the first raptor of the day - a KESTREL was up early hunting.
The second half of my walk around the lake area, wet woods and small holding, gave me CUCKOO,YELLOWHAMMER, which is a first for the month, COAL TIT, GREEN WOODPECKER, BULLFINCH, PHEASANT and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER. Whilst I was walking around the lakeside scrubby area, I was suprised to see both the PEREGRINES above me, I don't see them over here usually, also a few minutes later a SPARROWHAWK, then another Kestrel came over, it's not really surprising they hunt here, there are a lot of small birds in the scrub, and they all have fledglings about. I was trying to photograph the raptors when another new monthly species flew over a GREY HERON - this, along with the CANADA GEESE on the lake, brought the daylist up to 48, the 50 was tantalisingly near.
Another trip over to migrant alley, for a skywatch, saw the 50 target reached and passed, with a LESSER BLACKBACKED GULL, LESSER WHITETHROAT, which was the one from the Electricity sub-station, which had decided to sing, also 3 SWIFTS were hunting insects high in the sky, and lastly a fourth Raptor species was seen, when no less than 3 BUZZARDS were recorded circling over the Greenhouse complex.
So a 'usual' type day turned out to be a pretty good one. 52 species is excellent for my patch, and the Reed warbler added some spice!
Below are a couple of Turtle Dove pics.