A sight to cheer the day met me as I walked through the college grounds on the way to work this morning, the anticipated SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (97,60) was heard, then seen, flitting around at the top of a lime tree. These birds are getting scarcer every year, so it's always good to see one stake a territory on my patch, this one has arrived 3 days earlier than the ten year mean arrival date, and is the 3rd earliest. I need just 3 species now for the year list to reach 100, and it would be nice to reach that point before May 17th, so as to be the fastest 100 recorded, but with the only regular patch summer bird, the Garden warbler, left to arrive, ( and thats looking a bit iffy now!) I will need some luck to get the other two species :-)
This afternoon it was hot, and I just managed to drag my aching legs over to the Scrubby Woods and lake area ( been on my feet all day you know!) Once there, I sat for a while, listening and waiting, the already established summer migrants were singing away, CHIFFCHAFF, BLACKCAP, TURTLE DOVE and CUCKOO, but no sign of that Garden warbler, maybe I'll do better tomorrow morning. My first Beautiful Demoiselle of the year flew past as I sat, and alighted nearby, but escaped my camera!
As the afternoon passed and the heat built up, the singing tailed off, and all that was left were the hardy ROBINS, WRENS, DUNNOCKS, GOLDCRESTS and SONGTHRUSHES. I decided on an early exit, but checked the lake out before leaving, mainly to see if there were any young COOTS yet, but alas, not yet, just one adult was seen. Also there were six CANADA GEESE, one pair of these had six young, only one MOORHEN was seen and 3 male MALLARDS.
I walked home through the Tree Nursery, where the WHITETHROAT displayed and sang again, plus I also found a day flying moth, which I think is a Mother Shipton moth, the only other bird of note was a KESTREL hunting over the Greenhouse Complex.
Photo's today were few, but this Mallard came quite close
and I managed to get a photo of the PHEASANT on her nest. Great camouflage!