After a full week of sunny weather, it finally turned cloudy and dull today, but at least it was dry :-)
My full patch visit got underway at 06:30, and was finished by 10:30, but I was in and out again for most of the day, hoping for an exciting flyover, or new summer migrant to drop in.
Finding both BULLFINCH and BLACKCAP amongst the first 10 species of the day is an unusual occurrence, they were found in the Hedgerow along ashes lane, but the rest of the walk over to the College Grounds was a pretty standard affair. LESSER BLACK BACKED and HERRING GULLS were again on the college sports pitch, three GREYLAG GEESE flew over Migrant Alley, and whilst at the college gardens a CARRION CROW gave its ''raptor alert'' call, looking up I saw a large bird go behind the tree line, I excitedly waited for it to come out the other side, and as it did so it revealed itself to be a GREY HERON :-) Not quite what I was wanting! The only other summer visitors seen were 4 SWALLOWS and 2 CHIFFCHAFFS.
A SPARROWHAWK was up over the Wet Woods as I approached them, but little was actually in the woods, just a JAY, and a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, with a sprinkling of both BLUE and GREAT TITS. As I left the Wet Woods, and headed for the lake and scrubby woods, I suddenly heard a very familiar call, it was that of the CUCKOO (87,67), it called just once, and was probably flying over, but it was a very welcome migrant species for the year list none-the -less :-) It's arrival is just one day earlier than the mean arrival date for the ten years.
On the lakes I ticked off the CANADA GEESE, MALLARD, MOORHEN and COOTS, but was also treated to 3 Greylag Geese today. A walk through the Scrubby Wood produced the TREECREEPER, NUTHATCH, and GOLDCREST that weren't found earlier in the day, but despite a half hour 'sit and listen' session, I couldn't hear the likes of Willow Warbler or Nightingale.
44 species for the walk was a little below par, but my subsequent visits added five more species, all seen over Migrant Alley, SKYLARK, MEADOW PIPIT, KESTREL, CORMORANT, and one of the PEREGRINES from the tower in the village. 50 species would have been reached if I had found the Coal Tits!
I still await the arrival of several more summer migrant species on my patch, but there's always tomorrow for that, if they arrive close to their mean dates, I could well be on for the quickest 100 species for the year yet, that record was set in 2009, and was reached on the 17th May.