I was eager to get out this morning, hoping to find two more new bird species for May, so as to at least equal last years record May haul of 72. Looking at the weather forecast, rain was due in by mid morning, so my visit might have to be cut short.
As it happened, the first spots of rain arrived just after I finished the patch visit, which was a little better than recent full patch walks, with a total of 50 species recorded, unfortunately though, non of them were new sightings for this month. I can't complain at 50 species, that's always good going at any time of year, but as always seems the case, it should have exceeded 50, omissions to the list included; House Martin, Yellowhammer, Kestrel and Grey lag Goose - all usually found, and species like Hobby, Buzzard, Garden Warbler or Nuthatch are not exactly rare on my patch - one day i'll get to the 60 species mark, which I have only achieved once in 9 years!
Highlights of todays walk were finding a KINGFISHER at the Lakes, where a dozen CANADA GEESE and a GREY HERON were also found, along with 4 MALLARDS and two MOORHEN - thats quite busy for these small water bodies!
Another highlight was seeing a LITTLE OWL perched on one of the Greenhouses, and in the scrub around them, a LESSER WHITETHROAT was recorded, the first seen on a full patch walk since May 8th.
Over at the lakeside scrub it was very busy, with BLACKCAPS, WHITETHROATS, CHIFFCHAFFFS, TURTLE DOVES, and CUCKOO all singing, and the seasons first GREAT TIT, BLUE TIT, and COAL TIT fledglings were all seen, their hungry begging calls adding to the apparent chaos of the place!
Other noteworthy species were: TREECREEPER singing in the wet woods, SPARROWHAWK carrying prey over the Tee Nursery, and the pair of SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS getting down to the bussiness of nest building.
Just two more visits left for May, I need a bit of luck to come my way to get the months record :-)
Photographs were not easy to come by, the dwindling light level saw to that. I managed a couple though. First is a PIED WAGTAIL and below it is the LITTLE OWL, both on the Greenhouse Complex.