A real mix of species were recorded, as can be expected at this time of year, with winter birds exiting the country and summer birds arriving, the left over winter species included a FIELDFARE on the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, my latest ever date for this species by two days, there were also a few flyover SISKIN about.
Fewer Gulls were seen today, just 2 BLACK HEADED, 4 LESSER BLACK BACKED, and eight HERRING GULLS, which all flew over. A LAPWING (68) that flew up from the Tree Nursery field was my first this month, normally a bird associated with winter here.
As for the Summer birds, at least 6 CHIFFCHAFFS are now on territory, as well as two BLACKCAPS, but no increase in SWALLOW numbers yet, with the same 3 pairs being seen again today, my second WHEATEAR of the spring was a pleasant surprise, one was seen in the Tree Nursery field, unusual to get them here.
On the lakes this morning there were 14 CANADA GEESE, the nesting GREYLAG GEESE pair, a GREY HERON, 4 MALLARD, 6 MOORHEN and the COOT pair, which fed 5 of their 6 offspring, at least that I could see.
A productive sky watch was had once I'd finished the full patch walk, the more notable flyovers were from YELLOWHAMMER, and SKYLARK, whilst the usual trio of hunting raptor species also showed up - KESTREL, SPARROWHAWK and COMMON BUZZARD, however, they were joined by another today, when a fantastic MARSH HARRIER (85, 69) went over, this is a very scarce sighting on my patch, and the first ever Marsh Harrier seen in April, incredibly the 12 year combined April species list is now on 106, that's over three quarters of all the species seen on my patch! Anyway, I grabbed a few record shots, of what looked to be a sub-adult male, I think you may just be able to pick out the salient points for Marsh Harrier at least!
|Wow! Marsh harrier, a real treat for me on my patch, the year list increases!|
I headed off home for lunch eventually, where as usual whilst eating I kept an eye on my garden feeders, which are still attracting a few Siskins and LONG TAILED TITS, as well as the two male Blackcaps, which have surprisingly been joined by a female bird, more Blackcaps in my garden than out in the woods! A bigger surprise was to turn up though, when I spotted my first WILLOW WARBLER (86,70) of the year moving amongst my Elder tree, a brilliant species to have in my garden, not had one since 2004 :-) This is 33rd species to visit my garden this year already, and the 27th this month, that sets a new April record, and that's without a House Sparrow!
Looking at my arrival dates for Willow Warbler, todays bird arrived 8 days later than the median average date, yesterdays Wheatear by the way, arrived just two days later than the median average date.
Today also gave me my first Comma Butterfly of the year, last years first Comma was on the 12th March! Two Tortoiseshell Butterflies were also seen today.
|ROBIN, from the College Grounds|