|Fog At Migrant Alley|
|Lots Of Fog At Migrant Alley|
If the Spotted Flycatchers had arrived at the College Grounds this morning then I didn't see them :-) However, if they do now turn up this spring, it will be the latest arrival date for the 12 years of recording here.
I did see see a few interesting bits and pieces in the fog, there were 6 LESSER BLACK BACKED Gulls with 3 HERRING GULLS on one of the paddocks at Migrant Alley, while on the college sports pitch a pair of BLACK HEADED GULLS were feeding. Another successful MOORHEN nest was found, containing at least 3 newly hatched young. A TREECREEPER was heard to sing, as was a GOLDCREST and a COAL TIT, the only summer birds heard though were the CHIFFCHAFF and BLACKCAP.
I was home by 08:30hrs, and had some tea and toast while awaited the fog to lift, which 20 mins later it had, but only into a low, dull and misty cloud, good for seeing flyovers I thought, so I went over to my seat for a sky watch. A good move, as it took just 5 mins for me to see a lone LAPWING (64) go over, the first this month, however just 10 mins later, I was absolutely gobsmacked when I found myself watching a fantastic HEN HARRIER (96,65) flyover! It was of course being mobbed by crows, which helped me spot it, and I got some short but exciting views of the female bird as it went over, it was too high for the camera, and it wouldn't focus on it for that important record shot, but I am well happy with that sighting, this is the second year running i've had a female Hen harrier over Migrant Alley, last years was on the 23rd June.
I carried on my skywatch until 11:30hrs, recording a SKYLARK, 6 HOUSE MARTIN, 5 SWIFT, a pair of MALLARD, a SPARROWHAWK and two BUZZARDS, the first WHITETHROAT was finally heard to sing from the Greenhouse Grounds at 10:10hrs!
Before heading off to the Scrubby Woods and Lakes, I went home and put my 300mm lens on the camera with the extension tube, as the day had warmed up nicely and I thought a few flutters might be out. A MISTLETHRUSH was singing loudly when I arrived at the lakes in the now sunny conditions and the COOT family were seen well, showing off 3 well grown youngsters, 8 CANADA GEESE were also present, one pair had 3 young, having lost one already. 4 GREYLAG GEESE were seen but no young were present, and the feral BARNACLE GOOSE was also on the water.
I sat down in the sunshine and listened for a while at the Scrubby woods, where the 50th species for the day was heard - a drumming GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, the 51st revealed itself soon after, when the GREEN WOODPECKER flew past, then a TURTLE DOVE did likewise, great to see there is still one at least around here, the JAY heard squawking in the dense woods made it 53 species for the day, after such an unpromising start, not bad at all ;-)
I spent the next hour chasing the likes of Orange Tip, Peacock, Small White, Large White, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue and Green Veined White Butterflies, but the only species that I got any photo's of were the Green Veined White, probably because they had other things on their mind than me, if you see what I mean :-)
|Green Veined White - mating|
|Green Veined White|
|Green Veined White|
Despite the huge daylist, and the addition of Hen harrier to the Year list, my challenge to get to 100 species before the 17th of May, the quickest ever, failed - by 4 species. Oh for those Spotted Flycatchers, Garden warblers, and Sand martins, all of which could and should have turned up by now, and maybe I could have got a Redstart, or Black Redstart at a push! At least the months list is moving up the rankings, at 66 it's now in equal 7th place with May 2006.