Monday, 28 March 2011

As I left for work this morning, I heard the song of my second BLACKCAP of spring, singing from a bush in one of the large gardens, they have arrived early on my patch this year. Of the Ten years of recording, this is the fourth record of a singing Blackcap in March, the other 3 years were the early years of '02, '03, and '04, the mean arrival date is now 31st March.

This afternoon, I first paid a visit to the lake area, mainly to try and find some Butterflies, and check up on the COOTS. Despite some warm sunny spells, not a single Butterfly was found, but the Coots were both found. Also noted, on the main lake, was one of the pairs of CANADA GEESE they have made their nest on the small island, and the female was sitting on it :-)

Whilst in the Scrubby Woods, failing to locate butterflies, I could hear a small amount of spring song, predominantly from CHIFFCHAFFS, but SONGTHRUSH, BLACKBIRD, ROBIN, DUNNOCK, WREN and GOLDCREST also featured, but the one I enjoyed most was the MARSH TIT song, very pretty, if a bit repetitive! I didn't stay long, as it was the scarce Migrant species I was after, and they are most likely to occur over on the fields.

I walked up the Pub Field and scanned the newly turned soil, but couldn't locate a Wheatear, it's not looking like I'll get one in March this year. The usual gang of Corvids were seen, along with half a dozen PIED WAGTAILS and a PHEASANT, not quite what I wanted :-)

Next stop was Migrant Alley, always the best place for a scarce migrant, but a walk of the pasture and paddocks came up negative, not helped by the SPARROWHAWK circling over the place! I spent an hour at my skywatching seat, where I continued to scan the fence lines and posts, as well as the sky, but it proved very disappointing today, just WOODPIGEONS, CHAFFINCH, Corvids, and Pied wagtails were seen. I decided enough was enough, and headed for home, but at the last moment I had a change of heart and went for a look around the Tree Nursery.

Here I almost immediately heard the faint call of what I thought was a Redstart, I tracked the call down, but couldn't find the bird, although the call, now louder, convinced me more it was a Redstart. I stopped and scanned along the edge of a row of Laurels, and Wow!! There it was, a stunning male REDSTART (79,66) , what a blindin' bird!! Easily the best looking species to grace my patch ( I always say that!)

Redstarts on my patch are seen less than annually, and all but one sighting, in April 2006, have involved Autumn birds, all being the duller female or immature types, this sighting was my first ever spring plumaged male, cracking bird :-) I had just a 5 second view, before it flew into cover, and I couldn't locate it thereafter, despite spending another 40 minutes looking for it, a shame, as it would of made a great photo.

The Redstart pushes the Year list to 79, and the months list to 66, the 3rd best March out of ten now :-) Below is the Sparrowhawk, seen over Migrant alley, the only photo I took today


Greenie said...

Warren ,
Those migrant ticks are coming thick and fast now , well worth the wait . Well done with the Redstart .
I find it very difficult to read your blog at the moment , having to do it on just one breath !

Dean said...

Well done with the Redstart, Warren. It appears to be an early one, but then again i`m not up on the grapevine regards what migrants are in the country.

Warren Baker said...

I dont know why I cant get my posts to publish with the paragraphs! I'll look into it :-)


It is an early Redstart, I almost dismissed its call !

Alan Pavey said...

What a great start to the Spring for you Warren!! Both Redstarts in a week brilliant :-)

Warren Baker said...

A great start indeed Alan! I was expecting Wheatear and Chiffchaffs, not Redstarts :-)

Marc Heath said...

Steady Warren, you are finding some good stuff of late there.Just let me know when you get that Great spotted Cuckoo!!

Warren Baker said...

It'll be more like ''Great'' ive spotted a Cuckoo :-)

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Redstart before wheatear Warren, what's the world coming to?
Bear in mind that for the UK the early years of the noughties were warmer than the latter years, your Redstart could be a sign of things to come - but don't hold your breath.



Pete Woodruff said...

Yes another fine migrant for you the Redstart Warren....great stuff and spurs you on dunnit!

ShySongbird said...

Well done with the Redstart Warren :)
I tried for a Black Redstart this afternoon which had been seen on Sunday at Draycote but no luck :( Apparently it had been there in the morning! I heard my first Chiffchaff of the year at last though :)

Lovely photo of the Sparrowhawk!