An early start for work again this morning, but not much was seen of note. Two REDWINGS were at the college grounds again, and both CHIFFCHAFF and GOLDCREST sang.
After being at work all morning, and seeing that the day had turned warm and bright, I was itching to get out on my patch this afternoon, but how surprising that a few minutes after leaving work it clouded over and started raining...grrr.. someone really has it in for me!
It was still raining when I got home, but I could see some brighter sky on the horizon, so I made a cuppa and broke open the bakewell tarts while I waited for the rain to cease. Once the rain stopped, I headed out for the lake area, mainly to check the surrounding scrub for a migrant Blackcap, however, one of the big houses nearby was having its drive cleared of overhanging branches, chainsaws and a huge shredding machine were noisily drowning out any bird song, I did manage to see a CORMORANT leaving the main lake though.
The only thing left to do was move to Migrant Alley, and scan the fields and skies for migrants, a walk of the paddocks and fields was undertaken first, which was better than yesterdays walk; SKYLARK, YELLOWHAMMER, LINNET, PIED WAGTAIL and MISTLE THRUSH were all seen, along with the usual WOODPIGEONS, CORVIDS and a small flock of STARLING that were busy feeding on the sheep pasture. There were no Feldfare seen today, I expect to see them and the Redwing only sporadically now, but I hope to get both on the April list.
I reached my skywatching seat, and was immediatly treated to some weak sunshine, which felt warm, as there was little wind - I was owed that big time! The first flyover seen was a pair of LESSER BLACK BACK GULLS, then HERRING and BLACK HEADED GULLS, a pair of SPARROWHAWKS were high up, and a few finch's went over heading NE. Another Yellowhammer was heard calling as it went past, as were more Pied Wagtails, but it was not to be for any Swallows or Sand Martins today.
I could hear a Linnet singing from the Tall Hedge behing me, and both ROBIN, and DUNNOCK joined in, but as I sat and listened I was sure I heard my favorite springtime bird song, very quite at first, and sounding though it was distant, it soon stopped and I thought I was just being optimistic, but again, a few minutes later I heard the song, this time stronger, and I was in no doubt now that I was indeed hearing my first WILLOW WARBLER (75, 69) of the spring, it was right behind me in the Tall Hedge, a fantastic record, as this is the earliest ever Willow warbler recorded - by 8 days! The mean arrival date is the 11 Apr. In 2004 I had to wait until the 1st of May to record the first one, they mostly only pass through my patch now, and rarely breed, more's the pity.
This the third Migrant species i've had at migrant alley already this year, its living up to it's name again , especially the tall hedge, behind my sky watching seat!
The March list is now the joint highest ever, on a par with last year, just one more species will see it take the the record. The Willow Warbler, being a new species to any March gone before, takes the combined March total to 83, so it should be possible to get into the 70's, maybe ?
Above: Willow warbler in the Tall hedge, I couldn't get very close to it!