This morning was the last full patch walk, I'm back to work tomorrow, so it will be back to the shorter afternoon visits, however, I'm off on Thursday, and over the easter holiday, so the hunt for those summer migrants can continue :-)
This morning though, the sky had cleared and the sun shone warmly, it was a 'good to be alive' morning! Once again, as on the previous mornings visits the majority of resident bird species were found, but today I failed to find Long Tailed Tit, Treecreeper, Yellowhammer and surprisingly a Sparrowhawk. That still left me 47 species for the day.
Many of the CHIFFCHAFFS on my patch have moderated their singing now, a sign they have paired up and got down to nest building, the BLACKCAPS however are still at it full throttle, and it was noticeable that some singers are much better than others, one bird I listen too in the Scrubby Woods, had more than a touch of Nightingale about is repertoire!
One song I always look forward to hearing in the summer, is that of the TURTLE DOVE (90,71) , and the one that flew across Migrant Alley this morning may have been one of the few local breeders that are left on my patch, I hope so :-) It's arrival is the joint earliest for my patch, one also arrived in 2003 on this day, heralding a very hot summer, the mean arrival date for this species over the ten years is the 24th April.
Another eagerly awaited summer migrant also turned up this morning, a HOUSE MARTIN (91, 72), a lone bird was seen flying over the Greenhouse Complex as I was sky watching for Raptors, which was successful in that I saw a BUZZARD and a KESTREL. The House martins arrival is just 1 day earlier than the ten year mean, so it arrived bang on time for my patch :-)
Other notables today were; A flyover MEADOW PIPIT, and the CUCKOO, again calling all morning over at the Scrubby Woods. Four LESSER BACK BACKED GULLS were seen on the College Sports pitch early on.
Photo's were hard to come by today, now the leaves are started to burst open, giving more cover to the birds, however, this Chiffchaff came within 3 meters to tell me to clear off, as I was too near it's nest site !