Sunday, 1 May 2011

The first full patch walk of May took place in sunny conditions, but a cold and persistent NE wind was annoying at times. The species list got off to a good start today though, with 51 species found in the 4 hour visit.

First birds on the list were the usual characters to be found along Ashes lane, STARLING, GOLDFINCH, WREN, ROBIN, JACKDAW, WOODPIGEON, HOUSE SPARROW, GREENFINCH, DUNNOCK and BLUE TIT. Moving into the Greenhouse Complex CHAFFINCH, BLACKBIRD, WHITETHROAT, LINNET and PHEASANT were found, and crossing a cold and windy Migrant Alley I added SWALLOW, ROOK, and CARRION CROW, with flyover CANADA GEESE, GREYLAG GEESE, MALLARD and more interestingly two SWIFT, which zoomed low over heading NW. I could hear both LESSER WHITETHROAT and CHIFFCHAFF singing from the wooded Headland as I made my way over to the College Grounds.

More of the expected species turned up along the Stream and Gardens of the college, PIED WAGTAIL, BLACKCAP, COLLARED DOVE, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, BULLFINCH, GOLDCREST, SONGTHRUSH, and GREAT TIT, in that order :-)

Walking back out of the College Grounds, I made my way over to the Wooded Headlands and sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, the woods had a singing TURTLE DOVE and a JAY was seen, and the pasture had 4 more Canada Geese on it, over head 3 STOCK DOVES flew, and a SKYLARK sang from high up. The first MAGPIE finally showed up as I neared the Greenhouse Complex again, and a LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL, with 3 HERRING GULLS were seen headed NE, more of a surprise though was a LITTLE EGRET that went over a few moments later, the first seen since January, which is the only other record I have of one this year.

After a quick drink and snack at home, I made my way round to the lakes via the Small Holding and Wet Woods, not too much was added to the list before getting to the lakes, just a flyover SPARROWHAWK, and GREY HERON, plus a GREEN WOODPECKER on one of the large garden lawns adjacent to the Small Holding. On the lakes only the COOT was new for the daylist, in fact this is the first time Coot has made the May list ever! I couldn't access the Scrubby Woods today, for various reasons, however, walking the footpaths that run beside it I could hear the CUCKOO calling, and saw a pair of LONG TAILED TITS flitting about, the sighting of the day though was finding a roosting TAWNY OWL up in an Oak tree!

I Still needed MOORHEN for the list, and as none could be found around the lakes I walked over to the run off pool besides the Pub Field where one is nesting, and having successfully found that, I set off round the Tree Nursery, hoping for something different, and that's what I got when a smart looking WHEATEAR was found :-) I finished off the walk in my usual fashion, by going over to my sky watching seat at Migrant Alley, where I had a half hour watching the sky, this was rewarded with sightings of 2 BUZZARDS and a KESTREL.

I got a few photo's today, but wished I had taken my new lens, however thats too heavy to take out on full patch walks! Below is a male Blackcap in full song!

Above and below is the Wheatear from the Tree Nursery

Lastly the Tawny Owl, I just couldn't get the camera to focus properly through the foliage, but they are still nice shots :-)


Greenie said...

Warren ,
Great start to the month , and some good shots too . It can be so frustrating when there is a lot of information for the AF to contend with , like branches .
If you think your new lens is heavy , try a L series 100-400 !

Warren Baker said...

Cheers Greenie.
Those 'L' series lenses have a heav price tag too!

Jason K said...

Glad you managed to get a photo of the tawny...a difficult patch record shot any day of the week!

I did Shenstone yesterday but absolutely nothing of didnt even merit a blog entry :-(

Anonymous said...

You blew me out of the water today, Warren. We can`t be having that now, can we ? :-)

Nice series of pics, btw.

Warren Baker said...


A small victory for me :-) it's gonna be a hard month I think!

Derek Faulkner said...

Your entry on the KOS Database today caught my eye - you only saw one of every bird that you saw, how do they manage to breed? - or do you just count each variety seen rather than the number of each variety.

Warren Baker said...

I just report species seen, plus any unusually large numbers for my patch. I cant count every bird all the time, It would take to long :-)

Derek Faulkner said...

Really? that's the way most of us do it.

Warren Baker said...

Derek, not everyday ! Most birders are out once or twice a week. I will at some point resume my monthly census, counting every bird i see, but it isn't really accurate even then, I can't possibly find every bird of every species.

Mike H said...

Nice account for May Day good pics of the Tawny I would just like to see one.

ShySongbird said...

A very good start to the month Warren and lovely photos especially the Tawny Owl!

I do wish they would come up with a lightweight, long lens, I'm sure it is possible.

Paul said...

Hi Warren, great Tawny Owl pics mate, who cares about a few branches in the shot, when spotting one of those beauties!

Alan Pavey said...

Hi Warren, Some nice shots there, you have done well with Wheatears this spring and you've gone back passed me again ;-)