What a load of rubbish the weather forecast was! I was looking forward to sunny spells and 10C, in fact it was damp and cloudy with drizzle falling early on, it wasn't until gone noon that the sun tried, but mostly failed to come out. My camera stayed at home!
Given the conditions, it was a hard job finding any spring songsters, but once again it was the GOLDCREST, the smallest bird of them all, that led the way, one was singing just as I left the house at 06:30. Other half hearted efforts were made by WREN, ROBIN, DUNNOCK, SONGTHRUSH and BLACKBIRD but it should be a bit livelier by now!
The quiet part of the day - early on, was used to get to the lake area before anyone else, but nothing was on the water of any significance, 8 noisey CANADA GEESE, 4 MALLARD, 2 MOORHEN and the long staying COOT was all that was on offer. Around the woods and and lakeside scrub, the NUTHATCH, LONG TAILED TIT, MARSH TIT, COAL TIT, and two more Goldcrest were found, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKERS drummed and GREEN WOODPECKERS called. The BULLFINCH'S look to have paired up, with 4 different pairs seen, and MISTLE THRUSH'S were chasing about, but very little song has been heard from this species so far this year.
The fields and paddocks at Migrant Alley were completely devoid of bird life, the Hadlow College lambing weekend was taking place, and all the activity had dispearsed any birds, it will be the same tomorrow :-(. However I found where all the REDWING and FIELDFARE had gone to, they were at the top of a group of Poplar tree's that line the boundary of the College gardens, a mixed flock of a hundred or so birds were making a wall of sound as I passed beneath them.The highlight of the day was had as I passed back through Migrant Alley, on my way back home, 3 SKYLARKS (61) flew low over, circled round as if to land, but thought better of it and carried on NW, this species really is declining on my patch, due to the lack of nesting habitat, any that is available is frequently disturbed by the college farm and stables, tidying the areas.
It was a poor visit generally, with just 41 species seen, I would expext 47 - 50 at this time of year. A little later, around midday, I was tempted back out by the somewhat 'brighter' conditions. I headed of to watch the sky from my horse jump seat at Migrant Alley. I was hoping for a spring migrant, but none showed today, I did however add CORMORANT to the day list, 3 flew over, and I had some good views of 3 SPARROWHAWKS that were circling together, quite high up. Both Peregrines were on the tower, but didn't visit my patch.
This Sparrowhawk was one of two that visited the garden this afternoon, I wonder if they were the ones I saw earlier over Migrant Alley ?