Monday, 1 March 2010

At last the real winter months are behind us! March is here, and there'll be a few new birds to look forward to, especially in the latter parts of the month. The first of the summer migrants will arrive, invariably the Chiffchaff, but I can also anticipate the arrival of such species as Wheatear, Sand martin or maybe a very early Swallow, if i'm fortunate.

The first day of March was like someone had flicked a switch from Winter to Spring, the sun shone for much of the day, and the temperature rose beyond 10c, and in little or no wind it felt great!

I set for work 10mins early, keen to get the new months bird species list of to a good start, i'm chasing last years record March total of 69, another tall order, but its a challenge i'll rise to.

First off I recorded lots of singing species, ROBIN, WREN, DUNNOCK, MISTLE and SONGTHRUSH, BLACKBIRD even a GOLDCREST in the college grounds. Two CANADA GEESE were in the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, as were a few REDWING, but not a single Fieldfare was seen at all today.

This afternoon I was eager to get out into the woods and over to the lake, unfortunately my walk was ruined by the sounds of a typical warm spring day in pittswood, Lawnmowers, low flying light aircraft and chainsaws!! The latter especially. The worse of the chainsaws was at the large house by the lake, where the hadlow college training crews were hanging from the limbs of 4 different Oaks, cutting off all the wildlife friendly bits ( they call it dead wood). I only stayed around long enough to check to see if the Coot was still it around, and unsurprisingly it wasn't - even a Coot wouldn't stay around with all that racket going on!

I hastily made my way over to Migrant Alley, and the relative peace and quiet of my horse jump seat, this meant i'd have to find the likes of Treecreeper and Long Tailed Tit another day. I did however see a pair of NUTHATCH'S as I passed through the Wet Woods.

I watched the sky and fields for around two hours, finding some good birds for the months list, KESTREL and SPARROWHAWK flew for fun in the blue sky, and the Peregrine was sitting on the tower, but thats off my patch and i;ll have to wait for it to hunt over here on another day. A CORMORANT went over as did a YELLOWHAMMER, and two LITTLE OWLS called to one another from the small copse behind the Greenhouse Complex, typical they should show up on the first day of March, after having not seen one for the whole of Feb! On the way home I checked the Alders for Siskin, but none were found, however I went one better by finding 4 LESSER REDPOLL, a much scarcer species on my patch.

At the end of the day I had 38 species, a good start to the month, and if it weren't for those chainsaws 40 or more would have been found.

Above and Below: The Lesser Redpolls feeding on the Alder cones, another poor pic, with all the usual excuses :-)
Despite some nice light today the only other photo I took was of the Peregrine on the tower, nearly a kilometer away, don't even bother looking!!

News from the garden is that the Sprawk is back big time! I found a pile of BLACKBIRD feathers under the feeders this afternoon, along with just the top of its head and beak. :-(


Phil said...

Good start to the month Warren. I'm sure the ones you missed due to the "Chain Saw Massacre" will soon get added to the list!

Chris said...

HI Warren,
Let's hope you will get some nice sighting for this month. Here still some snow but not falling anymore... Lots of king eiders are around and I hope I'll find time to catch one somewhere... They are kind of far away but I'd like to see one!

ShySongbird said...

New month, new weather! It was lovely here too although not quite as warm as where you are, it was just great to have sunshine though.

I know I was told not to but I did hunt for that Peregrine no avail but I believe you :)

A good start to the month and nice that you saw Redpolls. Poor Blackbird! I know the sprawk has to eat too but it's better when it isn't 'our' birds!

Kelly said...

...glad you were able to chalk off at least the first 38 for the month. Too bad about the incessant noise coming from the chainsaws. We still have snow on the ground, but the birds are all starting to sing their spring songs, so warmer temps can't be too far behind.

Anonymous said...

Sprawk is I suppose a sparrow hawk? I didn't know they would go after starlings. I learn something all the time.

Simon said...

You're right about today's weather, gorgeous wasn't it?!

SaraG said...

Beautiful photo's.
I have really enjoyed my visit to your blog!
Take care

Forest the Bear said...

Great start to the month Warren. It has been a warm sunny day over here in Wicklow as well....maybe things are about to change!?

Shame about the chainsaws...but just remember they are running out of trees to chop!!...due to you saving the other trees from the two stroke menace! :o)

Anonymous said...

It was indeed a glorious weather day Warren.
All the best for reaching a new March total.

Greenie said...

Warren ,
Enjoy the sunshine , looks like a couple of days of it to come .
Great shot of the tower !