After work this afternoon, in some more dull, but at least dry conditions, I was hoping for some sign of spring as I walked over to the Lakes, but there is nothing happening as yet, it fact things seem to have regressed a bit if anything! I found 3 pairs of CANADA GEESE, 2 pairs of MALLARD and just one pair of MOORHEN on the Lakes I also saw one of the COOT pair, I wonder if the other is on a nest ? Last year the first Coot young were seen on 21st of April, so it is possible :-)
All the while I was out, I was listening for the simple chiming song of the first spring Chiffchaff, but it was not heard, perhaps not unsurprising given the prevailing weather set up, only in one previous spring has the Chiffchaff arrived later than todays date, that was back in 2006 when the first was heard on the 27th March, the median average first date for this species' arrival over the last 11 years is the 15th March.
TREECREEPER, COAL TIT, GOLDCREST and BULLFINCH were birds of note seen in the Scrubby Woods, but generally bird activity was very subdued.
I left the area and headed out across the open sheep pasture between the Wet Woods and Tree Nursery, and was suddenly aware of a BUZZARD just above me, I'd missed where it flew out from, probably because I was daydreaming about spring migrants :-)
One of the KESTREL pair hunted at the Tree Nursery, and a SPARROWHAWK sped over higher up. The ever present GREEN WOODPECKERS were seen among the shrubs, as were a few SONGTHRUSH, but little else of note.
I ended the visit at Migrant Alley, where I scanned all the paddocks and fence posts for a possible spring Wheatear, but like the Chiffchaffs, I think it will be a while yet before one of these show up. The earliest Wheatear on my patch was back in 2009 when one showed up on the 14th March, in the previous year the first was on the 15th. Out of the eleven years so far recorded, a March Wheatear has occurred in five of them, so there's roughly a 50/50 chance of a March sighting. :-)
A group of 11 well spaced FIELDFARE flew over, and I watched another Kestrel hunting, probably the mate of the one at the Tree Nursery, a few SISKIN were heard to call as they flew North, and that was about it for the afternoon.
Time was made for a few attempted garden bird photo's, but given the poor light and the attentions of the Sparrowhawk, it was very difficult! I did get these to brighten todays page though.
|GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER|