This morning I was out by 06:00hrs, in some lovely sunshine and clear skies, but the price for that was a frost. I had four species in mind for the visit, Turtle Dove, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler and maybe a flyover Swift. I went over to the Scrubby Woods, where one or two pairs of Turtle Dove possibly bred last year, on the way finding one of the Wheatear on the harrowed field.
I stood and listened for over an hour at the Scrubby Woods, moving from one spot to another, but no Turtle Doves were heard, nor any Garden warblers or Lesser whitethroats, the turtle Dove and Lesser Whitethroat are now 4 and 2 days respectively, later than their 11 year median first recorded date, but the Garden Warblers median arrival date here is the 3rd May, so not too surprising not to record one. Whilst listening I was able to confirm at least 4 BLACKCAP territories and 3 CHIFFCHAFF, but it is so unusual not to hear a Cuckoo here, in past years they have been almost annoying with their constant, loud calls drowning out everything else, I suppose I am recording the actual demise of this species as a breeding bird here now, to be added to the likes of Nightingale, Yellowhammer and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker :-(
I moved on and tried the only other place where Turtle Dove and Lesser Whitethroat are found on my patch, the Wooded Headland at Migrant Alley, again I had to pass through the harrowed nursery, and saw that there were now two Wheatear, must have missed one earlier! I got to the Wooded Headland and spent half an hour listening, but again failed to hear any of my target species.
Next up was a 2 hour hour sky watch, and a couple of circuits of the pasture and paddocks at Migrant Alley, but the clear blue sky remained mostly empty, no swifts, their median arrival date for the past 11 years is 29th April so one could have been anticipated. The local SWALLOWS, ROOKS, JACKDAWS and WOOD PIGEONS were seen, along with a couple of HERRING GULLS and a LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL. Very little was found around the fields either, which by now were disturbed by the dreaded dog walkers, as well as stable girls and the farmer checking his sheep. LINNET, STARLING, PIED WAGTAIL and CARRION CROW were all that was recorded.
In a last gasp effort to find a Lesser Whitethroat I tried the Greenhouse Grounds, where a pair did once breed, and in some years odd birds have passed through, but again I failed in my quest, I did however find three maybe four Common Whitethroats :-)
All a bit frustrating, as I only need two more new species this month to equal the best ever April species tally of 77, I'll have another try tomorrow !
|One of the Wheatear on the harrowed Tree Nursery field - i'll have to find another name for the field as it is no longer a tree nursery!|
|I took this GREAT TIT photo at home, I wanted to get a better view of that large 'tick' on the birds neck, it didn't seem to be hampering the bird to much though|