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.