A male MANDARIN DUCK flew over the Greenhouse Complex as I walked to work this morning, and at last the first April WHEATEAR (62) was seen on one of the fence lines at Migrant Alley, only the second of the spring.
The gloriously warm a sunny weather remained into it's 3rd day, and it was a real pleasure to be out amongst the wildlife on such a day. This afternoons walk over to the lake and scrub area was via the Tree Nursery, for a change, and almost immediately I found myself chasing Orange Tip butterflies! In all today I must have seen over 20 males, but despite having them fluttering around my boots at times, I didn't get a photo, maybe i'll do better in the morning while they are basking, and it's not so warm.
At least 4 SWALLOWS were seen in the blue sky as I crossed the Tree Nursery, and a SPARROWHAWK was seen to dive from a great height, but I didn't see if it got it's prey.
Arriving at the lakes the usual COOTS, and CANADA GEESE, were seen, plus a single MALLARD and a single MOORHEN, and whilst walking the edge of the lake I found a female Orange Tip, this one took pity on me and allowed some photo's :-)
In the scrubby woods it was all go! I really needed two pairs of eyes, butterflies were fluttering around, the trees and bushes were full of birds, and then I had to keep an eye on the sky! I chased after another Brimstone Butterfly, forsaking a decent shot of a Peacock on the way, but the former species escaped my photographic efforts yet again, will I ever get of Photo of this Species ?
A snake was seen slithering away into the undergrowth, my first this year, probably a grass snake, this happened whilst I spent ages following two TREECREEPERS from tree to tree, I lost count of the times I got a focus on one of them, only to have it move at the last moment! CHIFFCHAFFS and BLACKCAPS were singing, 2 NUTHATCH were calling, another 3 Treecreepers were seen, two of them inspecting a possible nest site, two COAL TITS were calling, as were at least 4 BULLFINCH, and all the time more butterflies were seen dashing around.
I dragged myself away after a couple of hours, so as to check out Migrant Alley, and on the way saw 4 BUZZARDS, a KESTREL and the SPARROWHAWK all in the same binocular view! What a great sight against the bluest of skies!
At Migrant Alley yet more Orange Tips patrolled the border against the Greenhouse Complex, again not stopping, and I plonked myself down on my sky watching seat, absolutely leg weary after all that chasing about! I scanned the fence lines and posts, but no Wheatear was seen, two GREYLAG GEESE flew over, and two more Swallows fed over the sheep pasture. I noticed a Warbler in the tall hedge behind me, it was leaping out and grabbing insects, I took it for a Chiffchaff at first, as it was against the strong sunshine, but as I moved round for a better view it turned out to be a COMMON WHITETHROAT (84, 63), great stuff! Another new spring migrant for Migrant Alley :-)
Looking at my first dates for Whitethroat, todays bird is the earliest ever recorded on my patch, 3 days earlier than the previous, found in 2009, and a full 10 days earlier than the ten year mean arrival date!
It was a cracking day in all, and I would need to write a book to describe the whole afternoon, but I havn't got time for that ! :-) As of today I am off work for a week, and most of that will be spent looking for spring arrivals on my patch, although I may just make a coastal visit at some point ;-)Above : Chiffchaff. Below: Kestrel