Friday, 29 March 2013

A four and a half hour full patch walk from 06:00hrs, (minus a half hour for a breakfast stop around 09:00hrs) yielded a very good list of 51 bird species. I was pleased with that, considering the cold conditions and that horribly cutting NE wind blowing too.

The first species on the list was not a regular, it was the GREYLAG GOOSE, a pair flew over calling as I left my house, thereafter it was a case of jotting down the likes of JACKDAW, WOODPIGEON, MAGPIE, PHEASANT, DUNNOCK, ROBIN, BLACKBIRD, SONGTHRUSH, BLUE TIT, CHAFFINCH, GREENFINCH, and CARRION CROW which appeared in quick succession.

 I walked over to the College Grounds first, checking out the Greenhouse Grounds on the way, where only the KESTREL was of any real note, then Migrant Alley, where 24 BLACK HEADED GULLS, at least 50 FIELDFARE and 8 REDWINGS were seen on the sheep pasture there, the first of four single MEADOW PIPITS seen through the morning that flew NW was also seen.

More regular species were ticked off as I worked through the College Grounds with its adjacent stream and formal gardens, most noteworthy were the likes of BULLFINCH, HOUSE SPARROW, PIED WAGTAIL, STOCK DOVE, MISTLE THRUSH, and at last my first CHIFFCHAFF (78,64) of the spring  :-) It called but didn't sing, unsurprising of course, as it was busy trying to feed and keep itself warm! So they have finally arrived, 14 days later than the average first date for the last 11 years!

Another Chiffchaff called from the banks of the main lake, where the GOOSANDER were still fishing, I wonder if they will stay around for April, i've not recorded this species in this month before. The COOT was still present, and 3 pairs of CANADA GEESE were on the water too, along with the feral BARNACLE GOOSE, but only 1 MALLARD pair and 2 MOORHENS were found today. This GREY HERON was sitting at the far side of the lake in a tall fir tree  :-)
Grey Heron. The first seen at the lakes this year
A look through the adjacent scrubby Woods, had me listening to a calling NUTHATCH, as well as a drumming GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, a few SISKIN were heard going over, and at least four GOLDCREST were seen, LONG TAILED TIT was another species to join the list before I then moved on to the wet Woods. Here I again saw the MANDARIN pair, giving some more hope that they will breed here again.

On the way back home, I crossed the sheep pasture between the Wet Woods and Tree Nursery, and found that the Black headed Gulls from Migrant Alley had re located there, amongst them I found 2 COMMON GULLS and the pair of MEDITERRANEAN GULLS that have been frequenting my patch for the last month or so. There were also around 100 Fieldfare sitting in some nearby Oak trees, making a huge din!

Nearing Home, as I was walking along Ashes Lane, I noted two COMMON BUZZARD and a SPARROWHAWK up high, as well as the last species for the day which was a LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL  :-)

Here at last - Chiffchaff!
Chiffchaff
Chiffchaff
Chiffchaff

4 comments:

David Turner said...

Glad to hear the Chiffchaffs are back on your patch Warren and well done in managing to get some photos :-)

ShySongbird said...

What a pleasure to see the Chiffchaff Warren and you got some great photos of it too. At least that's a step nearer to Spring. We had snow flurries this morning and there are still bits around from last weekend.

Warren Baker said...

Hi David,
Just need them to sing now :-)

Warren Baker said...

Hello Songbird :-)

A bit more of that wintry weather to get through yet, - its that cold nagging wind thats getting to me ;-/