Saturday, 2 April 2011

Long spells of warm sunshine greeted me for the first full patch walk of April, excellent weather to find those 36 species still needed to beat the mammoth April record of 76 species, which was set last year.

I walked over to the College grounds first thing, taking in the Tree Nursery, Pub Field and Migrant Alley on the way, however, I was not finding any new migrants, indeed, I wasn't even seeing anything different from the 41 species recorded yesterday!

This at last changed though, when a group of 4 CORMORANT (42) flew over just as I was leaving the College Grounds. As I returned through Migrant alley a SKYLARK (43) joined the months list, singing unseen high up over the sheep pasture. Things started to pick up a little from then on, another welcome visitor was seen zooming low over the Tree Nursery a SWALLOW (44), probably one of the local breeders.

I met up with two visitors to my patch at 09:00, ( hope you enjoyed your visit Gavin and Sheila), I showed them around the Small Holding, Wet Woods and Lake area. A JAY (45) that squawked from the Wet Woods as we approached, went onto the months list, but more of a surprise was finding a pair of TEAL (46) on one of the flooded pools, and we were very surprised indeed to see 5 ducklings following them! However they proved to be MALLARD ducklings following the wrong parent, they did eventually get it right!

After showing my visitors all the regular woodland species, except, frustratingly, the Marsh Tit, we checked out the lake, where not much but the usual CANADA GEESE, MALLARD, MOORHEN, plus the COOTS were seen. ( A subsequent visit by myself later in the afternoon turned up a MANDARIN DUCK (47), i'm sure my fellow birders would have appreciated it's presence earlier! )

We all then set off for a walk around Migrant alley, to see if any Wheatear had dropped into the paddocks there. None were seen, but a few raptors were about, KESTREL (48), SPARROWHAWK (49) and COMMON BUZZARD (50), were all up hunting, a nice way to bring the April list to 50. A pair of YELLOWHAMMERS (51) were seen on the new paddock, giving some nice views, which my fellow birders appreciated.

An excellent total of 51 species, and some great spring weather, made for an interesting and enjoyable visit. :-)

I took a few photo's today, below is a STARLING in it's lovely breeding plumage.
Below are the Cormorants that flew over, a bit of a blurry snapshot!
Later this afternoon, whilst at home, I gave the garden a look over, and was very pleased to see a male BRAMBLING (52). A great bird to have on my April list, only the fourth April to have one turn up. The latest date I have for them is the 7th, and the mean depature date is 28 March.

If i'm going to get anywhere near the 76 species recorded last April, i'll need all the leftover ''winter '' birds I can get :-)
Two new Butterflies joined the new spread sheet today. The Small tortoiseshell below, a bit of a tatty one, but then it has been through a rough winter!
Also a Small White, but it didn't stop for a photo, so here's another Comma!


Marc Heath said...

Thats a nice Brambling you had today. Seem to be a number around at the moment. I had a singing male the other day at Westbere.

Warren Baker said...

Hi Marc,
Shame I had to take the photo through the double Glazing !

Phil said...

Some good birds there today Warren. Nice to get a Swallow, I haven't had one yet, or a Brambling come to that.

Greenie said...

Warren ,
Another cracking start to the month .
I can't get over the numbers of Waxwings still around especially in Sussex . Wouldn't that be a good April tick ?

Warren Baker said...

Indeed it would Greenie! There have been a flock of 20 odd just to the NW of my patch for a few weeks now, frustratingly !

ShySongbird said...

That is a really lovely photo of the Starling, Warren!

It sounds like the weather was nicer for you, we hardly had any sunshine today.

I had to laugh about the ducklings :)

I thought 'my' Brambling had gone but was pleased to see it again today.

Well done with the ticks.

Bob Bushell said...

Nice Starling shot and it what about the butterflies, its brilliant to have them flapping about again.

Pete Woodruff said...

Good luck with the April records Warren, think of all the rewards you'll get from trying to beat it.

Simon said...

Super photos Warren, and what a handsome Brambling? Pleased to see you've seen a Small Tortoiseshell. Just catching up with blogs - you've seen some fantastic birds lately, nice one!!!

Andy said...

Hi Warren

Great Brambling photo and sounds like the weather is great as well. Wish I was at home covering my patch as my pair of LRP's have turned up. Oh well have to wait for next weekend now, stuck in Brazil on work.

Mary said...

I know that European Starlings are not very much loved, nor appreciated, yet they sure are quite handsome at this and all stages of their seasons to me~

Dean said...

A good 2nd day then, Warren. More to be had today. Good luck, mate.