Wednesday, 24 March 2010

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!

Above and below: Lesser Black backed Gulls


Phil said...

Warren, glad you got the Willow Warbler, it's the one I had at Dungeness yesterday, I asked it to call in on you as it headed North!
No Hirundines for me today either.

Phil said...

Sorry Warren, in answer to your question yesterday ref the Whooper,I can't decide whether to tick or not. I didn't last year but I think i'm going to need it this year :-)

Warren Baker said...

Phil, I would!

Lancs and Lakes Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Willow warbler in March - you must be somewhere down south!!!

Keep it up - I can feel a March total of 75 coming up.



Simon said...

Some great records lately Warren. I was at Hadlow today and heard a Willow Warbler sing briefly along the river running by the student car park.

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Warren.
Well done in getting the Wilow Warbler. It is about time you was rewarded with a new bird. The first of any, hopefully.

Anonymous said...

With the Hirrundines knocking on the door, i`m sure you`ll have a new March total. Good luck mate.

Chris said...

Hi Warren,
Congrats on the willow warbler sighting and on the potential record!!! That's cool that after a so bad winter we get some rewards... Here the cold is still there... Funny to see that cold temps came back with the volcano eruption!! but the sun is shining, so I might check some places today ;-)

Kingsdowner said...

Excellent early WW record - the first willow warbler song for me in France yesterday had to be double-checked, as it seemed early, but you must have have done a real double-take!

Greenie said...

Warren ,
Great Willow Warbler find .
Hope to be back to normal after the weekend .

Fraser Simpson said...

Well done on your very early Willow Warbler! I love the first time I hear one each year - really stirs up the memories of past springs. Good luck for the last few days of March - hope the weather improves.