Before I go on to todays patch walk, can I just thank all the people who took time to post a comment, e-mail me, or send me a text to express the dissapointment they shared with me over the habitat destruction on my patch. Reading them, it shows that i'm not the only person who who has to put up with ignorant landowners and farmers, and we all have our battles to fight - thank you all again for your support.
Well this mornings weather really didn't help lift the gloom! For May, it was truly dire, heavy low cloud and persistent drizzle with a temperature that barely reached 9c all day was not conducive to wildlife watching of any kind.
My idea for today was to count how many of the breeding migrant species were holding territory on my patch, not exactly the best day to do it, but I had a go anyway. As expected the results showed very few migrants singing, the most numerous was the BLACKCAP with 4 birds singing from territory, all located over at the lakeside scrub, which also was the habitat holding the only CUCKOO. Three CHIFFCHAFF were heard singing, two from the lakeside scrub, and one from the College Grounds, a single TURTLE DOVE 'purred' from the woody srub area at the northern end of Migrant Alley, where one of two LESSER WHITETHROATS were heard, the other being at the Greenhouse Complex on Ashes Lane. The last summer species seen was the COMMON WHITETHROAT, 3 of these turned up, one at the western end of Ashes lane, one from the Tree Nursery and one in the Greenhouse Complex grounds. I did find a single SWALLOW over Migrant Alley, but I know that there are at least 5 breeding pairs on my patch, and due to the poor flying conditions and lack of insect prey, they were all off elsewhere hunting, or just roosting up sitting out the weather.
So that was the result, probably a bit low for the Chiffchaff and Blackcap, but all the same, for a patch of 1.5 km square it's not that good, it's all down to habitat - or lack of!
45 species were recorded in all this morning, I would expect at least 48 at this time of year, none were new to the month, but additions to this month will be hard now the total has reached 60. I'm still awaiting a Grey Heron, that should be seen this month, but it would still take me to 4 below the May average.
My camera was almost totally redundant in the poor light conditions today, but I just managed some sort of photo of the MALLARD ducklings, there are at least 3 families in the Wet Woods.
Lastly, as I was watching the garden, a Common White throat appeared, right at the top of the leylandi tree in next doors garden, now, the tree leans over my garden, and if the bird had fallen out the tree it would have landed in my garden - that put it in my airspace, so I'm counting it as seen in my garden :-) Not a first but a welcome addition to this years garden list, which is on 27.