Saturday, 1 May 2010

The first butterfly of the month.....and the only species seen today - Speckled Wood

Another month starts, and another list begins, this months target is 72, which was achieved in may last year. I think there should be more to come from may, as the combined 8 year total of 86 seems a bit low, maybe I should get out more :-)

Showers were on the cards for this mornings visit, but luckily none fell during the 4 and half hours I was out. My aim today was to get the months list off to a good start by recording 50 species, and it got off to a quick start with, ROBIN, GREENFINCH, JACKDAW, WOODPIGEON, STARLING, HOUSE SPARROW, COLLARED DOVE and LESSER WHITETHROAT all recorded whilst I stood in ashes lane in front of my house.

The first port of call was the lakeside scrub, so I made my way up the lane and through the Small Holding, adding CHIFFCHAFF, LONG TAILED TIT, BLACKBIRD, WREN, BLUE TIT, SONGTHRUSH, MISTLETHRUSH, CHAFFINCH and a COMMON WHITETHROAT that was in a garden hedgerow, probably just a passage bird and wont be staying on my patch. The wet woods was quiet, and is getting darker by the day now that the leaves on coming on the tree's, but I did get MALLARD ( with 4 broods of ducklings), MOORHEN, STOCK DOVE, MAGPIE, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER and CARRION CROW to add to the day list.

As I walked the footpath from the wet woods to the lake, a GREEN WOODPECKER was feeding on the large lawn in one of the adjacent houses, an agitated GREAT TIT was seen, outside it's nest hole, bringing up the 25th species and the halfway point of todays challenge.

I was surprised to here a SKYLARK singing over the lake area, but more expected was the sound of CUCKOO, BLACKCAP, and GOLDCREST. I stopped and listened for the Turtle Doves but none were heard from this area today, however it was good to get TAWNY OWL on the May list, it was calling from somewhere in the dense scrub, also heard was BULLFINCH, DUNNOCK, COAL TIT, and JAY, a flyover SWALLOW brought the day list to 35, just 15 more species to find!

Two of those were easily found, the CANADA and GREYLAG GEESE on the lake doing the honours, the last two species recorded on this part of my patch was, a KESTREL which alighted briefly on an out building, but the other was the best bird of the day - my first GARDEN WARBLER (90) of the year - at last! It's arrival is a day earlier than last year, and 4 days earlier than the mean arrival date.

I left the scrub area, via the Wet Woods and out into Marchants field, which is now full of sheep busily munching through the emerging wild plants that thrive on the field margins, this is where I record many butterfly species later in the summer, so without the wild flowers it will be a barren spot for butterflies this year, wretched bloody sheep! Anyway back to my birds list, and both LESSER BLACK BACKED and HERRING GULL were seen from marchants field, wheeling above Migrant Alley, and crossing the Tree Nursery to get back onto ashes lane and back home for my halfway break a PHEASANT was flushed.

The grounds around the greenhouse Complex, Migrant Alley and the College grounds were checked out after my 10 min break, the first giving me GOLDFINCH, LINNET and PIED WAGTAIL for the list, Migrant Alley had no Migrants today, but i'm ever hopeful of a Whinchat dropping in, or one last spring passage wheatear, it did have some ROOKS to add to the list though, and flyovers by SPARROWHAWK, HOUSE MARTIN and at least 7 SWIFTS brought the list to 49.

The college grounds couldn't produce the 50th species for the day, but walking back through the small area of scrub and young woodland, at the north end of Migrant Alley, 3 TURTLE DOVES did the trick, they were heard purring and then flew out right over me, one made a sound ive not heard from this species before, a kind of 'tuc' noise, is that their flight call ? Anyway, I had my 50 species for the day, and have 30 days left to find 23 more to take the May record.

PS. A brief shower dodging afternoon visit to Migrant Alley added YELLOWHAMMER to the daylist, so that's one more!

Photo's were hard to come by in the conditions, but this Swallow posed nicely.


Steve said...

Good visit Warren. Well done with the Garden Warbler.

Derek Faulkner said...

Warren, I see you had a brief shower on your walk, here on Sheppey we're just coming to the end of an hour's torrential rain which has turned some roads into lakes. Doesn't bode well for a lot of Lapwing chicks I shouldn't think, being soaking wet and cold.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Warren: I'm seeing butterflies but they just keep going so no photos, love your photo.

ShySongbird said...

Well done on the Garden Warbler, Warren and also the Swallow photo, I only ever seem to see them on the wing and they are well nigh impossible to photograph then!

Kerry said...

You certainly have a great spot for birds in your area. Unfortunately I am surrounded by those bl**dy sheep who eat every scrap of everything creating fields that are mainly wastelands, though I blame the farmers and government rather than the sheep! :-) We do have the lane margins but not the same as having some great scrub, wood or good field margins. I envy you.

P.S. Thanks for your comments on my blog. :-)

kirstallcreatures said...

I enjoyed your pic of the Swallow, however hard I try to capture them in flight they're just a blur. At rest is definitely the best way to capture them. Linda

Greenie said...

Warren ,
Everything comes to he who waits !
Well done with the Garden Warbler .

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Warren.
I guessed it was just a matter of time before you saw your Garden Warbler, well done.
You are certainly off to a flyer.Good luck with the rest of the month.

Anonymous said...

That`s the problem with this month, Warren. I reckon most likely species will be recorded within the first week, then it`s gonna be a struggle to add anything else.
All that besides, have a good one.

Phil said...

Well done with the Garden Warbler Warren. Still got to see one at New Hythe yet, hopefully Monday. Good luck with your May list!

The Early Birder said...

Nice tally to start the month Warren. You saw 23 more than I heard this morning, but the conditions weren't great.