Saturday, 24 March 2012

More warm sunshine for this mornings full patch walk, a walk that produced a good mixture of species, as March visits often can, with the chance of recording out going winter visitors and the incoming spring ones. Today I had a few of each, and with most of the regular resident species turning out a brilliant total of 53 species was recorded in the four hour visit, had coal tit, Skylark and Buzzard showed up the day list could have threatened to reach the mythical 60 species  :-)  There are of course always the chance flyovers to lookout for, and today I got one of those too when the years first MUTE SWANS (76, 64) flew over the Greenhouse Ground/Migrant Alley early in the walk, both were immature birds.

Of the remaining winter species seen, a REDWING was in the hedgerow along Ashes Lane, and two FIELDFARE were seen in the Wet Woods, as well as two MEADOW PIPITS that flew from the Tree Nursery. The spring arrivals were represented by the now establishing CHIFFCHAFFS, 4 were in the Scrubby Woods, 3 were in the wooded headland at Migrant Alley and two more were in the College Grounds, where, along the streamside vegetation my first BLACKCAP (77, 65) of the year sang, what a pleasant sound that was  :-) My joy was compounded by seeing a KINGFISHER fly down stream, pursued by a SONGTHRUSH!

Four MANDARIN duck flew over the west end of Ashes lane, and two YELLOWHAMMERS were in the crop left for the wildbirds that is at the western border of my patch a bit further along the lane. Other noteworthy flyovers were two GREYLAG GOOSE, and two LESSER BLACKBACKED GULLS.
Immature Mute Swans, the first Swans this year  :-) Nothing I could do with the photo, they were so low all I got was a fleeting look as they whizzed over!
Distant Greylag Geese, in the morning haze
The lakes were relatively active today, with twelve CANADA GEESE, the feral BARNACLE GOOSE, 4 MOORHEN, 4 MALLARD, a GREY HERON, a CORMORANT and of course the COOT pair. Raptor species seen today were multiple SPARROWHAWK sightings plus the KESTREL, while the Gull species were represented by 44 BLACK HEADED GULLS on the college sports pitch and 2 flyover HERRING GULLS, as well as the already mentioned Lesser Black Backed Gull.

The year list moves on to 77, just 32 more to find for my target this year! Whilst the months list moves on to 65, which is the joint 4th best March total, joint with 2006, still a week to get it higher though  :-)

A few more species were seen nest building, among them this JACKDAW

Another Jackdaw  :-)
It was also interesting to see this HOUSE SPARROW in the hedgerow along Ashes Lane, it was part of a colour ringing scheme I was involved in a few years back, you can see the colour rings on its legs, this tells me the bird was ringed as a Juvenile back in May 2007, so its nearing its 5th birthday  :-)
Ringed House Sparrow ( ringed 20 may 2007)
Other photo's today were................
Chiffchaff ( the bits around its bill are the wet feather sticking together!)
Male Linnet, acquiring its spring red breast patches
This singing DUNNOCK captures the feel of the Morning, blue skies and birdsong!


Rohrerbot said...

That had to be exciting seeing those Mute Swans. Glad you had some great views and warm temps.

Phil said...

77 species puts you two in front of me Warren. I'll have to get my finger out!
More nice shots today, very nice Jackdaw.

Warren Baker said...

Have you had Blackcap yet ? seems lots have arrived overnight

Wilma said...

Don't know how the swans or the greylags get/stay airborn; they look far to heavy to fly! Interesting photo of the jackdaw gathering nest materials. I saw a mourning cloak butterfly this morning that successfully over-wintered; a pleasant surprise.

Marc Heath said...

A great mixture Warren, very much like the singing Dunnock shot. All that was missing for me today were the birds as the fog decided to ruin the morning.

Warren Baker said...

Isn't it great to see the first of the Butterlfies :-)

Warren Baker said...

Its usually foggy here, but not today! I had a friend over in the reculver area this morning, he too was berating the fog! :-)

ShySongbird said...

Lovely photos again Warren and it sounds like you had a very nice full patch walk. That's a very handsome Jackdaw and the House Sparrow is doing so well that I think one of those rings must be an eternity ring ;-)

Glorious sunshine here again though still quite hazy.There seemed to be Chiffchaffs in all directions today :-)

Jason K said...

Finally Warren! you've got your Mute Swans...phew!

Craig Round said...

The Chiffchaff has a 'pollen horn' around the bill Warren, caused by a build up of sticky pollen when they are sipping nectar from flowers of species such as Citrus trees and introduced Eucalyptus in North Africa/Mediterranean on migration. It's a good sign, that Chiffchaff has travelled some distance to get to Pittswood!

Anonymous said...

Glad someone had a good day, Warren. Mine went from bad > worse.

Warren Baker said...

Thanks for that info, I didn't know that little snippit, fascinating !