Saturday, 22 March 2014

A cool wind blew varying amounts of cloud across the area this morning, but equally there were some short sunny spells to be enjoyed.

I headed straight for Migrant Alley first off, where the small flock of BLACK HEADED GULLS that have been around all week were again in with the sheep, HERRING GULLS went over in two's and three's and a couple of LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS also flew over. I began to scan the paddocks, at first only finding WOODPIGEONS, JACKDAWS and ROOKS, but I then spotted the run - stop - run feeding action of a small passerine, and it was of course my first WHEATEAR (71,66) of the year. I was however very pleased to see another two Wheatears were also on the same paddock, all cracking males, Migrant Alley has delivered again  :-)

I finished my circuit of Migrant Alley, seeing and hearing a CHIFFCHAFF in the wooded headland, and hearing a YELLOWHAMMER singing in the distance over at High House Lane. The LITTLE OWL was in the Greenhouse Copse as I passed, and a pair of BUZZARDS were up over the Greenhouse Grounds. I looked back for another distant look at the Wheatears, to find that they had been flushed up onto a fence rail by the stable girls bringing out the horses, one flew off over the Greenhouses, but the other two sat patiently, giving me time to walk back over and photograph them, and I filled my boots of course! :-)
 March Wheatears are a real treat here, they have now been recorded in March 6 times out of the 13 years, giving me a median average first sighting date of the 5th April.
I left the Wheatears feeding in with the sheep and headed off to the lakes and woods, via the Pub Field, where I once again saw the LAPWING pair, the male displaying and doing some courtship singing, no chance of them breeding there though, the field will be muck spread and ploughed too soon for that. Another Little Owl was seen as I walked on, this one at the old shack in the Ashes lane Field.

On the lakes today there were 13 CANADA GEESE, with the nesting pair, plus a pair of GREYLAG GEESE and the feral BARNACLE GOOSE. The MUTE SWAN and COOT pair pair were also seen, along with a few MALLARD and MOORHEN.
Greylag Goose

A walk through both the Scrubby and Wet Woods didn't provide me with my first migrant Blackcap for the year, but most of the regulars were seen or heard, including GOLDCREST, BULLFINCH, TREECREEPER, GREAT SPOTTED and GREEN WOODPECKER, and at least 4 singing CHIFFCHAFFS.
I'll put a couple more Wheatear images up to finish the post, as I took so many!


Marc Heath said...

Cracking shots, put mine to shame. They really are stunners mate. That top shot with a slightly darker background should be your header I think, a great catch.

Warren Baker said...

Thanks Marc :-) I might use that Wheatear image for Aprils header :-)

Alan Pavey said...

Excellent stuff Warren, great shots, I had a quick look on the patch today with Wheatear in mind, no luck though :-(

Warren Baker said...

You should get one through soon, keep checking :-)

Mike H said...

Lovely wheatears Warren very jealous.

Anonymous said...

Cracking Wheatear shots, Warren. Birds were seen up here yesterday as well, but not by me :-(

Stringer said...

Superb wheatear pics them....

Pls send it up north !!