It was quite a bit cooler this morning, and less sunshine was to be had, but it felt decent enough in the brief sunny spells.
The birds weren't quite as active as yesterday, and it took a while for things to liven up a bit, but a newly arrived BLACKCAP singing along Ashes Lane, was an impressive sound to hear at 06:15 in the morning :-) Accompanying it were GREAT TIT, ROBIN, BLACKBIRD, SONGTHRUSH, DUNNOCK, GOLDCREST and WOODPIGEON.
Once off the lane, and out in the fields of the Tree Nursery and Pub Field, the bird song faded, as there is no real nesting habitat here, and it was case of watching the sky, and picking up the likes of drumming GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, and calling NUTHATCH which can be heard from the Wet Woods. As Always, I was excited at the thought of finding something nice at Migrant Alley, but I drew a blank again, Wheatears were found on 7 dates here last April, so that's a little over a four to one chance of finding one by that reckoning, so tomorrows the day :-) I did see something of note flying over the sheep pasture though, my first LAPWING (53) of the month, the first since February actually, one of those winter species that I need !
At the College Grounds, a whole host of common species were seen, LINNET, GREENFINCH, TREECREEPER, MISTLE THRUSH, CHIFFCHAFF, and the second of 6 Blackcaps that were heard today. I also watched a pair of COAL TITS copulating whilst there, the male was so pleased with his efforts that he gave some impressive song for some minutes afterwards :-) Upon leaving the area a GREY HERON (54) flew over heading north, another for the April list.
The April total grew by one more a little later, when passing through the wooded headland at the northern end of Migrant Alley, 4 REDWING (55) flew up, circled round, and headed off NE, a good April find, Redwings have now been recorded in April in five of the ten years, the mean departure date being the 31 March. SKYLARK, GREYLAG GOOSE, YELLOWHAMMER, and STOCK DOVE were all seen as I made my way back home for a halfway drink.
Having already seen or heard most of the woodland species, not much was added to the list as I walked over to the lakes, just BULLFINCH, and again, no Marsh Tit, has it left for it's breeding area ? On the water though, the CANADA GEESE had increased to 7, the COOTS were busy feeding, and MOORHEN and MALLARD were about in small numbers, however a very interesting species was seen next. I heard Geese coming in from over the wet Woods, one was obviously a Canada Goose, but the one calling with it gave a strong ''quack'' like call, all was revealed when both CANADA and BARNACLE GOOSE (82, 56) splashed down. It was my old friend, the Barnacle Goose that paired with the Canada Goose last year :-) I last saw them on 20th march 2010, a bit of a plastic year tick, but one none-the-less :-)
An hour at Migrant Alley skywatching for raptors came up with COMMON BUZZARD and SPARROWHAWK, as well as HERRING GULL, no sign of a Black headed gull yet this month though. The day ended on a very pleasing 50 species. This was incremented by one later in the afternoon, when I was well pleased to see the MARSH TIT (57) at the garden feeders, just need him to stay and breed now :-)
Photo's today aren't up to much :-), however, I saw these to Treecreepers pair bonding, one was feeding the other as a prelude to breeding.Above and below are two of the Blackcaps