Monday, 12 March 2012

Another absolutely cracking spring day, wall to wall sunshine and little wind, typical for a workday! As usual I got out for the afternoon though, visiting the lakes and Scrubby Woods briefly, before going on to check out the fields and paddocks at Migrant Alley.

All was very still and quiet as I walked through the Small Holding and Wet Woods to get to the lakes, 3 different GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKERS were heard to drum, and numerous GREAT TITS called, a few MAGPIES cackled but otherwise everything was very sleepy.

At the lakes it was very much as you were, the pair of COOTS were seen, along with 2 pairs of MALLARD, 1 pair of MOORHENS and 4 pairs of CANADA GEESE. The surrounding Scrubby Woods was a bit more livelier, with a pair of NUTHATCH seen, one giving that clear sweet sounding pew-pew-pew spring call, in a nearby tree a pair of LONG TAILED TITS collected nesting material, and somewhere deeper in the woods a TREECREPER called, then, the moment came that I have been anticipating for days now, the first spring CHIFFCHAFF (72,59) was heard, not singing unfortunately, but giving its soft hu-eet call......now spring really is here  :-)  The Chiffchaffs arrival is 3 days earlier than the mean arrival date for the past 10 years, and the fourth earliest so far, this years arrival being a day later than last years. Another confirmation that spring has arrived in force was the first sighting of the Comma butterfly, looking at my butterfly stat sheet that I started last spring, shows that this years sighting is 11 days earlier than last year  :-)
First Comma of the year! I must remember to change the lens for Butterfly photographs, its not easy with a 500mm lens with a minimum close focus of 2 meters!
Making my way over to Migrant Alley to check the paddocks and fence lines, I stopped briefly at the Tree Nursery, to check the tops of the shrubs for a possible Stonechat - no luck there, just a couple more Magpies, plus a PHEASANT and a GREEN WOODPECKER were seen. The search for a migrant Wheatear at the paddocks was a failure, but it's still a bit early for them just yet, with the mean first date for this species being the 6th April, but the earliest record is the 15 March. A KESTREL was seen up hunting though, as was the SPARROWHAWK, and around 120 BLACK HEADED GULLS picked through the leftovers on the field where the cars had parked for the Lambing Weekend.......every cloud........

The comma was the only photo I took this afternoon, so here are a couple of weekend garden bird shots  :-)
BLUE TIT
GREENFINCH
Greenfinch

9 comments:

Jason K said...

Ooooh Spring Chiffy...you lucky so and so! I went round my patch this afternoon but not a sniff yet mate!

Rohrerbot said...

I think one of the birds has something on his beak:) Nice shots. The butterfly shots are tricky. I had the same issue yesterday. Nice shots and glad you had a sunny day:)

Warren Baker said...

Jase,
Anyday now mate :-)

Warren Baker said...

Chris,
I've got to get into butterfly mode with the camera again, its been a while! :-)

Marianne said...

Oooh, look at that lovely Comma! Still waiting for my first 2012 butterfly...

Greenie said...

Warren ,
Snap with the Chiffchaff .
Wouldn't argue with your weather description .

Phil said...

Commas, Chiffchaffs, sounds like my day Warren.
Am I right in thinking Coots don't excite you quite so much on your patch now? :-)

ShySongbird said...

First Spring Chiffchaff, how welcome!!

Well done on the Comma too Warren and that's a lovely photo of the Blue Tit.

No sun at all here yesterday or today so far :-(

Dean said...

Well done on your 2 firsts of the year, Warren.