Sunday, 31 March 2013

Another cold start, with a frost for the last full patch visit of March, rather annoyingly the sky was two thirds clear when I set off, the third that was covered in a bank of cloud was of course obscuring the sun!

As I have in the last two visits, I set off to the College Grounds first thing, passing first through the Tree Nursery, where the sighting of the day was had - a JACK SNIPE (66) this could have been the same bird seen here in January, but either way, its a great bird species to have on my patch  :-) Also of note in the Nursery were around 8 MEADOW PIPITS.

A cold wind blew across the frosted sheep pasture and paddocks of Migrant Alley, where at least 200 Gulls had again gathered, the 2 MEDITERRANEAN GULLS were soon picked out, their strange calls helping with that, and a few COMMON GULLS were mixed in with the BLACK HEADED GULLS that made up the remaining flock.
About 65 B H Gulls here with at least one Common Gull
Over 100 B H Gulls here ( note the hedgerow behind them, six years ago this was planted, what a state, i'll not mention the nearby establishment who planted it)
I actually managed a record shot of a very distant Med Gull
But one more step towards it and it was off!
There were also around 45 FIELDFARE on the paddocks, but no Redwing today, a solitary LAPWING was also seen feeding with them.

The College Grounds were much the same as yesterday, no sign of the Chiffchaff seen on Friday, so this March will go down as the first that I have not heard a Chiffchaff sing! Whilst ticking off the regular species seen at the gardens and grounds, I again watched the MISTLE THRUSH busily building its nest. I was saddened by the fact that it is probably wasting its efforts, it has built the nest above a bust walkway, a location that has failed before due to the disturbance it receives  :-(
Mistlethrush gathering nest materials
Over at the lakes today I was surprised to see the GOOSANDER pair were on the water again, a GREY HERON, the CANADA GEESE pair, a MALLARD pair and the COOT were also present.
With better light today, and a bit of patience, I got a half decent Goosander photo, here's the male  :-)
Goosander, female
The Scrubby Woods was again good for finding the likes of GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, JAY, BULLFINCH, LONG TAILED TIT, and NUTHATCH, but no Coal Tit or Treecreepers were seen. In the Wet Woods the only thing of note were the MANDARIN DUCKS. On the walk home GREYLAG GOOSE and KESTREL made up the list to 47 species, not too bad, but disappointing not to have found any spring migrants.

March ended with a tally of 66 species being recorded, this is the joint 4th best March tally, joint with last year, in which the weather was totally the opposite, so i cant be too disappointed with that effort  :-) The mean species total for the previous five March months is 67.5. Three more species were added to the 12 year combined species list for March, they were Jack Snipe, Egyptian Goose and Mediterranean Gull, that list now stands at 91.

Summer officially starts tomorrow, and with it ( hopefully) some spring migrants will arrive, this year I will be especially looking out for the likes of Cuckoo, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden warbler, Spotted Flycatcher and Turtle Dove, all of which are barely hanging on here, with just one or two breeding pairs left  :-(


ShySongbird said...

I've always understood the first day of Summer to be June 21st Warren and considering the first day of Spring was only March 21st I can't see where that's come from...or are you playing an early April Fools joke on us??

I hope the Mistle Thush's efforts aren't wasted. Lovely Goosander photos.

Warren Baker said...

I was just going by the clocks going forward one hour Songbird, British Summer Time :-)

Warren Baker said...

songbird - i'll let you know the Mistlethrush outcome :-)

ShySongbird said...

Thanks Warren, that's cleared that up :-) Yes do let us know about the thrush, fingers crossed here!

Anonymous said...

I`ve not had any Mipits yet Warren. Usually have plenty passing over...but it`s not been the usual month of it ?

Anonymous said...

You get some wonderful birds on your local patch Warren what with Jack Snipe, Mediterranean Gulls and Goosanders. If you manage to find a Turtle Dove in the summer I'll be even more envious ;-)

Greenie said...

Warren ,
Nice Goosander shots , and well done with Jack and Med .
Not bothered if it's Spring or Summer , just want some warmth .

Jason K said...

Jack Snipe and Med Gulls...I've never recorded either at lucky man!