After early cloud broke up, it became quite sunny, and out of the wind it was warm. At last a taste of spring!
I was really hoping for the first spring Migrant to show up today, invariably this would be the Chiffchaff, i've had them singing on my patch as early as the 10th of March, but the mean date of arrival over the eight years is the 16th. They arrived this very day the 14th last year, along with the earliest ever Wheatear, but they are a lot more scarcer species on my patch.
The four hours I spent out this morning from 06:15, was a completely different affair to yesterdays poor visit, just about every species I expected to be out there turned up today - apart from the Marsh Tit, giving me an excellent daylist of 51 species! Much more song was heard too, SONGTHRUSH, BLACKBIRD, GREENFINCH, CHAFFINCH, WREN, DUNNOCK, ROBIN, TREECREPER and GOLDCREST were all giving some decent territorial song. The less musical song of COLLARED DOVE, WOODPIGEON, STOCK DOVE, and BULLFINCH were also appreciated, brightening up the still dull looking woods and scrub areas. One song heard today was especially pleasing, a YELLOWHAMMER, it was singing from the boundary of marchants field and a large garden, which is adjacent the Tree Nursery.
My visit to the lake first thing was initially disappointing again, that was until I spotted a KINGFISHER (62), the first since January, it fished contentedly on the far side. The usual CANADA GEESE, MALLARD, MOORHEN and the COOT were also present. Whilst there, I watched a BLACK HEADED GULL flyover, then dive down to the water, I got my bins on it and saw it had found a dead fish on the surface of the water, this is only the second Black Headed Gull ive ever seen alight on the water !
Later in the morning I did some skywatching at Migrant Alley. This proved much better than yesterdays effort. As well as 3 SKYLARK, a LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL, 18 HERRING GULL and numerous PIED WAGTAILS, I manged to see two single MEADOW PIPITS and best of all 4 raptor species, the first was a COMMON BUZZARD (63), which soared effortlessly in the warming sky, the second was a SPARROWHAWK, its presence alerted to me by the black and white sentinals that are the Pied wagtails, they are so good at spotting raptors! Next up was a trio - yes three PEREGRINES, the two from the tower were seeing off an intruder, great to watch! Withing 5 minutes a KESTREL had turned up to hunt around the Greenhouses.
Also noted today were plenty of REDWING and FIELDFARE groups of 30 -50 of each were seen around the college sports pitch and Tree Nursery, they wont be here much longer, there were already a few of these northern thrushes flying high over my patch - presumably heading back home.
I only got a few pics today, the wind was a bit strong! but this Dunnock showed himsel well.