Sunday, 18 April 2010

This mornings walk was the last of my 'nine in a row' holiday walks, its back to work tomorrow :-(

Overall it has been a little disappointing, with no new migrant species seen at all! However that all changed today, and how very apt, as today was my 1000th full patch walk!! At 3.5 miles per walk I could have walked to Africa and seen the birds there!

Anyway, it was quite an eventful walk, the first half of it across the tree nursery, Migrant Alley and the College Grounds was proving to be all too familiar, just the resident species being seen, plus a SAND MARTIN that flew over Ashes lane as I was coming back for a break, only the second one seen this spring.

As I started the second half of my walk, a Common Whitethroat was heard, but it was 50m off my patch - very tantalising, but it proved to me the migrants were near! The excitement started as I was leaving the lake side scrub, when at last a CUCKOO (81 65) was heard calling, from exactly the area I had just left! I stopped and listened, and marvelled at this birds ability to turn up at the same place and the same time every year (give or take a few days!), this one has turned up 7 days later than the earliest ever, and is the joint latest arrival, with that in 2002.

Before setting off again, I was treated to the months first MUTE SWAN (66), and as I followed it round, in my binocular vision, I passed the Cuckoo, in the top of a tree, it stayed just long enough for an absmal photo of it :-)

At last a bit of spring I thought to myself, but just a few minutes later, whilst crossing the Tree Nursery, I heard the rattling call of a LESSER WHITETHROAT (82,67) Fantastic, two new migrants on the same day, - and the sun was out, cant be bad! I made my way over to Migrant Alley, and just before reaching it, I had another surprise, this time a COMMON WHITETHROAT (83,68), this one was on my patch, right in some brambles at the Greenhouse Complex.

Bouyed on by my sightings, I spent an hour skywatching at Migrant Alley, but it all came to an end, with just a flyover MEADOW PIPIT of note.

After lunch I decided that I would show my lady wife Joy, the delights of Migrant alley :-), on the pretence that it was a lovely sunny afternoon and we would be sure to see lots of butterflies, which we did, including Small and Large Whites, Comma Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, and a probable Small Copper, but it flew off strongly before I could ID it for certain. However, the best sighting was of a WHEATEAR, a real cracker sitting on the fence line, now I didn't expect that did I ;-).

On our return home, deck chairs and cups of tea in the garden were called for, where the day got even better, when 4 - 5 HOUSE MARTINS (84, 69) circled high over us, 4 new migrants for the day, and a brilliant day list of 52. Spring has kicked off at last!

Year list = 84 - 9 behind the end of April last year
Months list=69 - 3 behind the highest April total set last year.

Above and below: A GREEN WOODPECKER, this was at the lakeside scrub, pity I was facing into the sun.
Below: The Wheatear

Below: The resident KESTREL, sitting and hunting today, as there was no wind to 'hang' on.
Lastly, the Cuckoo............... just a little late.


EP Andy said...


Well done, patience finally paid off. You are right about Cuckoo's though. Our bird is back in his usual position calling early every morning (5 am) and disappearing durng the day only to to return at dusk to roost at the bottom of the garden. Waiting now for his misses to turn up, usually 7 days later. Great about the other migrants as well. Long may the volcano continue if this is the weather and birding.

Phil said...

Well done Warren, at least they arrived before your return to work tomorrow.

Lancs and Lakes Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

3 and 9 to go (that's 18 1/2p isn't) and still more than a week left, gonna be close!!! Hope work doesn't interfere with record setting too much.
Hoopoe up this way today...anything is possible but House Martin would be good...where are they?



Greenie said...

Warren ,
A great day's sightings by anyone's book .
You can go to work a happy man tomorrow , not .

Sharon said...

Congratulations Warren on your 1000th patch visit! Its almost as the migrants planned to appear today as they know you're back at work tomorrow! Well done. PS love the Wheatear shot.

Pete Woodruff said...

Determination and some excellent records you collect/have/keep Warren. Sorry you're back at work tomorrow but the days are lengthening in your favour all the time.

Anonymous said...

A bit of a tick fest by the looks of it Warren. That year list is creeping up now.

Chris said...

Wow very impressive Warren. Does not look like the ash of our volcano is bothering you and your birds at all ;-) Good... Congrats on the cuckoo, you finally got it... The woodpecker shots are beautiful, mate!

Monika said...

Wow, what a day!! I feel like the migrants are just starting to show up in force here, too.