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!