The last patch walk of the easter holidays was undertaken today, the weather was only slightly improved on yesterday, but at least it didn't rain!
The last three easter visits have been very frustrating as far as bird song is concerned, and today was no different, if I was a bird I dont think the cool, dull conditions would entice me to sing either! Early on in the walk, a slow but steady list of species went into the notebook, all the usual suspects ; JACKDAW, STARLING, GOLDFINCH, BLACKBIRD, COLLARED DOVE, GREAT TIT, HOUSE SPARROW, GREENWOODPECKER, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, ROBIN, WREN, and DUNNNOCK were the first dozen species seen, all of them in the first 5 mins of my walk as I travelled along Ashes Lane towards the tree nursery, where it all went a bit quiet. A flock of 11 CORMORANT flew over, the largest flock ever recorded going over my patch, quite strange to see that many. A CHAFFINCH was one of the few songsters, along with the LINNETS in the Tree Nursery, and leaving there, following the hedgerow up the pub field, a pair of LONG TAILED TITS, 4
displaying GREENFINCH, and flyovers by JAY and MAGPIE were sighted.
Migrant Alley was quiet, just a PHEASANT running across the paddocks, the ever present ROOKS and CARRION CROWS and a flyover HERRING GULL was noted. On the the College Grounds and garden, where it was a bit livlier again, as some warmth got into the morning, CHIFFCHAFFS were singing, as was a SONG THRUSH, the first BLUE TIT was at last seen, a MOORHEN was on one of the small ponds where two MISTLE THRUSH collected nest material from the pond edges. Walking back out across the College sports pitch, I heard the PIED WAGTAILS ''shouting'' at something above, it was 3 SPARROWHAWKS, all circling around each other.
I walked through the wooded area at the north end of Migrant Alley, where a pair of BULLFINCH were added to the daylist, and turning back down the sheep pasture, 2 LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS, 3 GREYLAG GEESE, and 3 STOCK DOVES flew low over.
As I neared the the Greenhouse Complex, I looked back and had a last scan of the fence posts and lines at Migrant Alley, and bingo - a WHEATEAR (56) dropped in right before me, a female, at last something to cheer about! The last bird on the list before my halftime drink was a lone SWALLOW that was perched on the Greenhouse roof.
Out again 5 mins later, around the Small Holding, Wet Woods and Lake area, I found most of the expected woodland species, TREECREEPER, COAL TIT, GOLDCREST, NUTHATCH, and a singing BLACKCAP, but nothing prepared me for the next bird on the list, as I walked past the main lake, and ticked off CANADA GOOSE and MALLARD, I looked up and saw a magnificent RED KITE (78, 57) , being mobbed of course by a corvid. Well that cheered the holiday up a bit, a much needed boost to the year list!
After my excitement of the Kite, I decided to go back over to Migrant Alley, in an attempt to photograph the Wheatear seen earlier, this proved a good decision as not only did SKYLARK, YELLOWHAMMER and MEADOW PIPIT join the list, but another Wheatear had dropped in, this one was a male.
47 species were seen in all, a much better day!
Above and below is the Red Kite, with the attendent ''mobber''