Friday, 26 March 2010

It was dry this morning, after the overnight rain, and I had hoped that as I walked into work maybe a Wheatear had dropped down on the paddocks at Migrant Alley, but alas, it was not to be today, I did flush up two MEADOW PIPITS though. A bit further on, at the college grounds, I watched a male BLACKBIRD gathering up worms, obviously it had young to feed, a good early brood.

This afternoon I got luckier than in recent visits, weatherwise that is, for I had a whole hour out before it rained, that passed after 10 mins, and despite a bit of a gusty cool wind the weather wasn't too bad.

My aim this afternoon was to try and find a migrant Blackcap over at the scrub area around the lakes. Blackcaps have been recorded in March in 3 out of the 8 years i've studied my patch, 2002, 2003 and 2004, the earliest was heard singing on the 23rd (2003). All the other first sightings have occurred in April, the mean overall first date is the 31st March, so its not in the realms of fantasy that I should find one anyday now, just not today!

I scanned over the lakes just before walking the scrub, but just 2 CANADA GEESE were seen, they were on the Ornimental lake. Back in the scrubby area, I could hear 3 different CHIFFCHAFFS singing, plenty of ROBINS, the odd WREN, BLACKBIRD, SONGTHRUSH, and DUNNOCK, which at first sound a bit like a Blackcap :-). Two JAYS and a MAGPIE were squawking and cackling at something in a dense thicket of bramble strewn pine trees, they may have been mobbing an owl species, but much searching didn't reveal one. After an hour I gave up my Blackcap quest and moved on to Migrant Alley for a skywatch. This proved fruitless as far as seeing any Swallows/Sandmartins, but CORMORANT, and GREY HERON went over, I dont get them everyday, however apart from that it was a quiet skywatch, just the normal WOODPIGEONS, GULLS, CORVIDS, PIED WAGTAILS and STARLINGS were seen. Two birds also not seen today were Fieldfare and Redwing, last year the latter species was last noted on the 25th march, and the Fieldfares last date was on the 4th April, so tomorrows full patch walk may well be a couple of species light!


Kelly said... I was reading I was hoping the paragraph would end with a Blackcap sighting, but maybe tomorrow. Glad it cleared enough for you to get out.

Looking at yesterday's post, I really enjoyed the photos of the Great Spotted Woodpecker. What a striking bird. I love all the variations of black, red, and white found in all of our woodpeckers.

Warren Baker said...

Hi Kelly,
They are striking birds are'nt they!

I work at a primary school, where one child had drawn and painted a woodpecker, it looked nothing like a woodpecker in shape ( he was only 5 !), but the black, white and red colouring was unmistakable :-)

Adam said...

Ditto in East Malling re: the winter thrushes. Kinda missed the 'chack, chack' of the Fieldfares overhead.


Chris said...

Hi Warren..
Sorry for the blackcap.. it is also a species I've been trying to see without success. it is quite rare in iceland but they are couple of them turning around...
The redwings are back over here mate, they came by huge flocks on the southeast coast of Iceland these last days. Sorry you'll have to wait a bit to see them again!

Anonymous said...

Why are all the migrants avoiding our patch`s Warren, when there everywhere else ?

Good luck for this weekend.

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Dean - I'm pretty sure those migrants are avoiding both my patches too. Did you have a look at my fungus pics the other day youre au fait those slippery fellas - I'd be grateful for an ID.