I spent 9 hours out on my patch today, less a snack stop, then a dinner break :-) The weather was cool and cloudy, with a light breeze, but it remained dry throughout the visit.
I decided I would go over to the Lakes first thing this morning rather than the College Grounds, there might just be a different songster there today. En route, via Ashes Lane, the Small Holding and Wet Woods, the usual common species were heard or seen, WOODPIGEON, STARLING, WREN, ROBIN, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, JACKDAW, SWALLOW, HOUSE SPARROW, BLUE TIT and CARRION CROW being the first ten of those before I even got fifty yards. The Small Holding added PHEASANT, CHAFFINCH, MAGPIE, GOLDCREST, GREENFINCH, SONGTHRUSH, CHIFFCHAFF and GREAT TIT to the list, but in the Wet Woods just MOORHEN, and STOCK DOVE joined them in the book.
On the lakes there were no surprises, CANADA GEESE, MALLARD, and COOT were seen, the Scrubby Woods were also minus any surprises, but it was full of BLACKCAP song, along with lots more Chiffchaff, a TREECREEPER sang briefly, as did a COAL TIT, but the best find there today was a singing WILLOW WARBLER. I went and checked the Song Thrush nest, and found it all ok, along the way a pair of BULLFINCH'S flew across my path, as did the first BLACKBIRD of the day - better late than never!
On my out of the woods, I saw three JAYS, they were making some weird noises today! Three other species were heard before I crossed the sheep field to the Tree Nursery, DUNNOCK, COLLARED DOVE and NUTHATCH, and a first for the month, flyover MUTE SWAN (68) was a nice addition just as I arrived. Both LINNET and PIED WAGTAIL went on the list as I scanned trees and bushes in the nursery, and above me I could here a SKYLARK singing, a SPARROWHAWK was also up soaring over the nearby Greenhouse Complex. It was here i got a bit hungry and had a 15 min snack break ;-)
After my break I headed out to Migrant Alley, there, I found LINNET, GREEN WOODPECKER, ROOK, and both LESSER BLACK BACKED and HERRING GULL on the sheep pasture, but no passing Migrants. I decided to give the College Grounds a miss, as it was late morning now, and it was busy with work crews, dog walkers and stable girls, so I went back to the lake and Scrubby Woods, this proved a good move, as on the way I heard the CUCKOO call again, but it wasn't seen. I looked over the lakes and saw that two GREYLAG GEESE had flown in, and better still a male MANDARIN DUCK too, very nice!
I checked my list and found that I had 45 species on it, that was without GOLDFINCH, LONG TAILED TIT, or MISTLE THRUSH, so a thorough check of the nearby wooded gardens was had, and all three were eventually secured :-) With 48 species now on the list I wanted to get to 50, the most likely, species to be found now would be Yellowhammer or Kestrel, so it was back over to Migrant Alley, but first some lunch, hungry work this birding all day!
Once there I checked the new paddock, where Yellowhammers are known to be, but there were none today, I back tracked over to my seat, and was surprised by a WHEATEAR that flew up and onto a fence rail, I didn't expect that! Once at my seat I scanned the sky, and as well as eventually finding the KESTREL up hunting, I also saw a Cuckoo fly over, the first sighting of one at last. I stayed watching the sky, having secured my 50 species for the day, which is a cracking total for my patch, but it rose to 52 when first a MEADOW PIPIT was heard going over, then 3 BUZZARDS were seen soaring, a good days birding!!
This male Bullfinch was on my feeders during my break