Thursday, 24 February 2011

Ashes lane, first thing this morning

First thing this morning, the clouds were showing signs of breaking up, and at last allowing a bit of brightness through. Eventually, as the morning progressed, more and more sunshine broke through, and this afternoon was superb, the warmest and brightest day of the year so far, and did it feel good ! :-)

I was out for 4 and a half hours this morning, before hunger got the better of me, and another 2 hours this afternoon, a good total of 45 bird species was seen, amongst those were 3 new ones for the month, with one of those being new for the year :-)

Right from the off the milder temperatures encouraged much birdsong, ROBIN, WREN, DUNNOCK, SONGTHRUSH, BLACKBIRD, CHAFFINCH, GREENFINCH, and GOLDCREST were all in good voice, with the likes of BLUE TIT, GREAT TIT, STARLING, and COLLARD DOVE all calling too , it sounded like spring at last!

I had started with a walk over to the College Gardens today, via the Tree Nursery, Pub Field and Migrant Alley, not much was out of the ordinary, the KESTREL remained in the tree next to the nest box in the Tree Nursery, the Pub Field had 57 FIELDFARE on it, but no Redwing, a species not seen at all today, Migrant Alley was almost birdless, but a lone SKYLARK was singing high up, another spring singer, and a welcome one at that :-) I reached the College Grounds, and heard yet another songster, one that has been heard singing since late January, the TREECREEPER, another GOLDCREST was also heard, the second of 9 that sang today, they were joined by COAL TIT and MISTLE THRUSH.

I made my way over to the lakes, meeting a low flying SPARROWHAWK as I passed the Greenhouse Complex, but it was the only time I saw it today. On reaching the lakes I had a good scan, but saw no Goosander today, I was back to counting CANADA GEESE, of which two were on each of the 3 lakes, with 3 pairs of MALLARD on the main lake and 3 MOORHEN on the ornamental lake, it wasn't until i had a second look across the main lake that I saw the bird of the day - a COOT (70, 60), yes! Excellent bird for my patch, Goosander are more common than Coots are here!!

I was already feeling better than of late in the brighter conditions, and the new addition for the year list was even more of a boost, making the walk round the scrubby woods most enjoyable. Here, I heard the Kewick and towoo call of the Tawny Owl, then again I heard it, and once more it came, kewick - towoo. It sounded weak, and the hoot was not at all strong and hollow, so I made my way to the source of the call, and what flies out ? A JAY ! Very clever mate ! After the pleasant walk through the Scrub, which added NUTHATCH and SISKIN to my list, I headed back over to the Tree Nursery, and it was here that my first MEADOW PIPIT (61) of the month flew over 'seep seep seeping' as it went south, a good point to end my walk and have a very late Breakfast :-)

At 13:00hrs the sun was out, and so was I, back over at Migrant Alley, surley a soaring raptor would turn up ? As I sat on my skywatching seat the warmth of the sun soaked deep into my bones, lovely, not the burning heat of mid summer, just that gentle warmth of early spring, you cant beat it :-) As for a soaring raptor, well, it really was my day today, as no less than four COMMON BUZZARDS (62) were up high together, enjoying the same warmth as me - fantastic :-)

But here's my bird of the day..............A Coot! :-)

I also found this Dunnock sunning itself, allowing a photograph.

My first Honey Bees were seen this afternoon, these were at their hive which is located by my skywatching seat.

Back at home in the Garden, more signs of spring, the Crocus' have opened up

Allowing the first sighting of a ' drunken' Bumble Bee

It staggered from flower to flower

Getting more and more dusted in pollen

Just look at that for a happy scene !


Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

A great day Warren and just reward for the those recent 'blank' days. Hope you looked for our colour rings on that coot!!!
Don't think i've ever seen a bee on crocusses despite planting nearly a million of them in the three years run up to the Millenium - can't move for the damn things round here



Warren Baker said...

Cheers Dave,
Yep, I did make the most of it!

Marc Heath said...

What what you do if it was an American Coot? One of my fastest twitches over to Stodmarsh in the past.Sounds like a good day.

Warren Baker said...

The font doesn't go big enough to show that much excitement!

Greenie said...

Warren ,
Snap with the Buff-tailed Bumblebee .
It certainly was good to be out and about today .

Bob Bushell said...

It was a happy day, and the bees look at what he has done. Brilliant.

Frank said...

At long last Warren ... so I can happily post Coot images with gay abandon .. lol.

ShySongbird said...

Every time I say 'Oh! It's only a Coot' I think of you Warren ;) Well done, it made a golden day even better for you! And what a golden day it's been, this is more like it :)

Lovely to see all the bees especially the bumbles on your Crocus!

Jann E. said...

Those crocus photos are gorgeous!! We're not even close to seeing spring flowers/bees, not with these single digit F temps and minus 0 F too, thrills! coots are so common here but I still have to smile when I see their funny mugs.