It feels like the past few days have been spent just waiting for something to happen on my patch, and today at last it did :-) My first REED WARBLER (91,76) of the year was found in the tiny patch of Phragmites reeds that grows by one of the ponds in the College Grounds, Reed Warblers are a good species to find on my patch, especially in spring, and todays bird was the first that has occurred in the month of April, making it the earliest seen on my patch, just to buck the trend in this year of late arrivals!
The excitement continued, when a little later, as I walked the Greenhouse grounds, I at last heard the call of a LESSER WHITETHROAT (92,77) the bird showed for a brief moment, then moved north, and was not heard again, I wonder if it will return to breed here ? I hope so, don't want to loose another breeding species on the patch.
Moments later I was scanning the Ashes lane Field ( the ex-Tree Nursery, remember ?) and was pleased to see the WHEATEAR pair had remained, their fourth day on my patch, as I watched them I heard a YELLOW WAGTAIL fly over - this is better I thought :-)
A couple of hours were spent around the Small Holding, Wet Woods and Scrubby Woods, where as well as the regularly seen species, I added a LITTLE OWL from the Small Holding and a TAWNY OWL from the Scrubby Woods which hooted in reply to a SONGTHRUSH mimicking the Ke-wick call of a female Tawny Owl !
The already good visit got better in the afternoon, when during a skywatch from my usual perch at Migrant Alley, a pair of MUTE SWANS (78) flew over, and a PEREGRINE (79) did likewise, eventually alighting on the tower at Hadlow village. These two species brought the months list to 79 species, not only a record April tally, but also a record tally for any month previously recorded on my patch, 80 species may well have been passed if only the Turtle Dove ans Swift had arrived on their Median dates! The 12 year combined April list, having been incremented by the Reed Warbler, now stands at 106 species. The Mediterranean Gull, Marsh Harrier and Goosander were other species seen this month that were 'firsts' for any April.
A huge daylist of 54 species was recorded today, and with tomorrows '60 species in a day' patch challenge being undertaken, I wonder if I have peaked to early, we shall see! I'll be out from dawn till late afternoon, 12 hours minimum, I dont expect to reach 60 species, but it will be fun trying, any where past 55 will be an excellent effort for my patch :-)
Whilst at home waiting for the grocery shopping to be delivered, I saw the first fledgling BLACKBIRD in my garden, exactly a year to the day when last years was first recorded :-)
Photo's from the day include ;
|Male HOUSE SPARROW, not a common bird here any more :-(|
|Male House Sparrow|
|Female House Sparrow - mate of the above :-)|
|Yet another Long Tailed Tit image - I cant resist!|
|I had my butterfly lens on this afternoon, and made a better job of photographing the Orange Tip, almost got it all in focus, I need more practice with my extension tube :-) ( couldn't get the underwing Marc!)|