Thursday, 2 May 2013

I was out at the much more sensible time of 06:00hrs this morning, the sun was just about out, but a cool NE breeze blew making it feel chilly.
Sunshine trying to break through this morning, it did eventually  :-)
I headed straight over to the College Grounds, so as to have the place more or less to myself, very little was seen passing the Greenhouse Grounds and through Migrant Alley, it really is a 'quiet spring' here so far. Once at the College Grounds I looked and listened for the bird featured in this months header photo - the Spotted Flycatcher, they will be arriving anyday now, but this species is another that is only just hanging on here, with just one pair of birds breeding. The median arrival date for Spotted Flycatchers on my patch is the 11 May, arriving between the 2nd and the 15th usually, but in 2003 they were very early and arrived on the 28th April. I didn't find a flycatcher in the hour I was at the College, but it will be my first port of call for the next two weeks  :-)

After my failed Flycatcher expedition, I went up to the Wooded Headland at Migrant Alley and had a listen for Turtle Doves, which also ended in failure, a BLACKCAP, a CHIFFCHAFF and a pair of BULLFINCH were the best noted there.

My patch wanderings took me over to the Scrubby Woods and Lakes area, where I checked the progress of the COOT family, which look to be down to just 2 youngsters now, and the GREYLAG GOOSE is still incubating, nothing else but CANADA GEESE were seen on the water. I again listened for an hour for the Turtle Doves in the adjacent Scrubby Woods, and failed yet again to hear any, nor were there any Garden warblers, and of course the Cuckoo was notable by its absence.

May in a British woodland should be filled with birdsong, but this year it seems very subdued, whilst listening for Turtle doves I heard only occasional song from, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, CHAFFINCH, SONGTHRUSH, WREN, ROBIN, and BLACKBIRD is it like this everywhere this year ?

Around 10:00hrs I made my back over to Migrant Alley, which has been very poor this year for those migrants, just one Wheatear and one Yellow wagtail has turned up on the pasture and paddocks this spring, but the place has changed over the past few years, it's much busier now with stable girls coming and going, tending many more horses than there used to be, and the establishment that the girls come from insists on keeping the place as ''tidy''as possible.I did see a flock of a dozen LINNETS there though, with 2 GOLDFINCH and 4 PIED WAGTAILS.

At least it's still a good place to sit and watch the sky from, which I did for an hour, seeing LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL, HERRING GULL and BLACK HEADED GULL (53) a new species for the month and a scarce record for May. I also saw four HOUSE MARTINS (54) go over, another I could of done with yesterday! KESTREL, SPARROWHAWK, GREY HERON, a calling LITTLE OWL from the Greenhouse Copse and the local SWALLOWS were the best of the rest, strangely there were no Buzzards about today.

So the May list moves on to 54 species, a long way to go yet to reach the best May total of 73, achieved back in 2011 - but then I have got another 29 days to go  :-)
Photo's today........
Coal Tit
Another Speckled Wood, this one was at the Wooded Headland
Speckled Wood


Chris said...

Hi Warren,
Thanks for your kind message on my blog... I guess I still have to test the camera-lens in low light ;-) You got beautiful pictures today and I love your header too! Awesome.

Warren Baker said...

Thanks Chris,
Good luck with the camera :-)

ShySongbird said...

A shame about the young Coot but maybe it will reappear. Yes, you've still got plenty of time to reach your best May total and after all it has been an unusually slow spring all round this year. Keep the enthusiasm going Warren, I'm sure things will improve for you soon :-) Lovely pics of the Coal Tits and so good to see another Swallow.

Warren Baker said...

Thanks Songbird,
I'm hanging on in there! :-)

Bob Bushell said...

Nice shots Warren.

Steve Seal said...

Hi Warren up here in Cheshire its been quite in our wood as well but things are starting to happen now albeit late . Great Blog mate .
Best wishes Steve .