Saturday, 24 April 2010

First thing this morning it was over to the lakeside scrub, to try once more to record my first Turtle Dove, but I got more than I bargained for! Straight away I was met with a wall of bird song, fitting for such a perfect April day: WILLOW WARBLER, BLACKCAP, CHIFFCHAFF, CUCKOO and most impressive of all my first NIGHTINGALE (87,73) since April 21 2007! I just stood and listened in awe to all that song, and lets not forget the resident species of WREN, DUNNOCK, ROBIN, SONGTHRUSH, BLACKBIRD, MISTLE THRUSH, and CHAFFINCH all which may not be as greater songsters as the Migrant species, but they play their part in one of the most pleasurable things in the natural world - the Dawn Chorus!

I dragged myself away, minus my Turtle Dove, to finish the rest of the patch walk, and once out of the lakeside scrub and back into the wet woods, it was like someone had closed the door, as I was met with just the sounds of GREAT TIT, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER and JAYS. The reason for such contrast is the habitat, the wet woods has no undergrowth, just a carpet of bluebells, and thus no nesting opportunities for the songbirds. The owners of that piece of scrub should be congratulated for making a truly wild piece of habitat - Thanks A & K :-)

I crossed the tree nursery to get to Migrant Alley, and added a few common species to the list, LINNET, GRRENFINCH, and a singing YELLOWHAMMER, as well as HERRING and LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS going over, on leaving the nursery I checked the nest of the MOORHEN that has made its home on the fast evaporating run off pool, I found the 3 young chicks and managed a photo of one today. Entering the pub field I checked the freshly harrowed soil and at last found something interesting on it a WHEATEAR! One of the very few that are recorded away from Migrant Alley.

I contined my walk across Migrant Alley and the College Grounds without too much more excitement, SWALLOWS and HOUSE MARTINS were overhead, a single SKYLARK sang, and as usual a SPARROWHAWK was up hunting.

By 10:00 I had finished my walk, but after a quick drink and something to eat I went back out, to have one more try at the Turtle Dove. I found a LESSER WHITETHROAT along Ashes Lane, and added a TREECREEPER to the day list that was in a large Oak on the edge of the Wet Woods. Upon arriving at the lakeside scrub for the second time, the song was mainly that of Blackcaps, but just a few minutes later the song of a TURTLE DOVE (88,74) was at last heard, sounding like I imagine a snoring fairy would sound! It had arrived bang on its mean arrival date the 24th April! Happy with my two year ticks, which by the way takes the April haul to 74, easily passing last years record of 72, I moved off home for a well earned cuppa, not before having my 50th species for the day fly past - a calling NUTHATCH.

I was getting itchy again by mid afternoon, and so had another visit to Migrant Alley for a skywatch, which turned out productive, my hour produced the folllowing Raptors COMMON BUZZARD, PEREGRINE, KESTREL and another Sparrowhawk, a STOCK DOVE flew over and a PHEASANT called, both not seen in the morning visit, but the skywatching highlight was a YELLOW WAGTAIL (89, 75) that flew low straight over me calling as it did so, and giving good views of it's stunning yellow spring plumage - 56 species ! 3 year ticks! what a day!

Above: Yellowhammer, Below : GOLDFINCH

Below is the WHEATEAR, I took this photograph in the tree nursery, was it the same bird that was on the harrowed Pub field ? Probably.

Below is a SWALLOW on the lines over Ashes Lane

Lastly one of the young Moorhen chicks.


EP Andy said...

Brilliant day Warren and what stunning weather. Good birds and congrats on your Nightingale. Went listening for one on Thursday but had no luck so perhaps they have arrived now.

Sharon said...

Wow, what a day!Great that you've passed last years tally AND got a Turtle Dove AND a Nightingale! And there's still a week left of April, who knows what else you'll get!

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Warren: Wonderful captures of those neat birds. That chick is so cute.

Greenie said...

Warren ,
Well done with your trio of ticks .
Even more nhard work for next year .

Chris said...

Hi Warren,
Wow, you got a nightingale, how cool!!! The year list starts to be quite impressive as well as the month list!! Excellent!

Anonymous said...

What a day indeed Warren. Well done on your 2 target species.

Monika said...

Great stuff Warren! And you've still got five days left.

I'm still trying to figure out what a snoring fairy might sound like.