Sunday, 23 March 2014

The first two hours after dawn were frosty but sunny, before cloud rolled in and some light showers fell before the end of my 4 hour patch walk.

I started off around the sheep pasture and paddocks of Migrant Alley, hoping for another sighting of the Wheatears seen yesterday, but as I suspected , they had moved on, they never stay more than a few hours in the spring as they are eager to get back to their breeding grounds. I was left with the regular BLACK HEADED GULL flock to scan through, but they are the same birds as in previous visits so no Med gulls were seen. The morning fly through of HERRING GULLS was observed, with them were a couple of LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS, one of which I got a dodgy image of  ;-)
Lesser Black backed Gull - just look at that sky, could do with that come May
Two MUTE SWANS also flew over, as did a calling YELLOWHAMMER, but nothing else was of much note on the fields.

Making my way over to the lakes and woods I checked the old shack in the Ashes lane Field as I always do, finding once again the LITTLE OWL present on it, nearby a FIELDFARE called from the top of a sycamore tree, the only winter thrush seen today.

On the lakes it was much the same as previous visits, CANADA GEESE, GREYLAG GEESE and the feral BARNACLE GOOSE were all present, as were the COOT pair, and the MUTE SWAN pair, I thought maybe the two I'd seen fly over earlier were these two, but obviously not. There were plenty of CHIFFCHAFFS about, three were seen in the rough areas surrounding the lakes, with at least another 4 in the Scrubby Woods, where I had some good close views of feeding COAL TITS and also watched at least 4 different BULLFINCH moving in the dense scrub, then a real bonus was heard, the hooting of the TAWNY OWL (72,67) from the dense row of conifers, I know it roosts there, but this is my first evidence of it this year.

I had a look through the Wet Woods, finding it busier than normal, here too there were Chiffchaffs singing, as well as NUTHATCH calling, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKERS drumming, and a pair of BUZZARDS chasing along the edge of the wood, making all sorts of calls, they're are almost certainly breeding on my patch, be good to find out where. As I watched one of two Albino Squirrels, a pair of MANDARIN DUCKS dropped onto the wooded pools.
I got a couple of images of one of the Albino Squirrels
They make interesting images, despite the light being poor
On the floor of the Wet Woods the first Bluebells are coming into flower
I finished off the mornings visit back over on my sky watching seat at Migrant Alley, but little was noted, apart from a couple of singing SKYLARK and the female KESTREL that was hunting behind me in the Greenhouse Grounds, which was full of WRENS, ROBINS and DUNNOCKS.


Noushka said...

Hi Warren!
Sorry I haven't been commenting lately on your posts, been quite busy and the little time I have, I spend taking pics!!
How odd you'd find not 1 but 2 albino squirrels!
Are they mated?
Well, they really stand out despite the poor light!
Brilliant sets of photos, congrats!
Yep I wonder why I hadn't thought earlier to buy thigh boots!!!
Please don't get nightmares now! LOL!!!
Keep well! ;-)

Marc Heath said...

Like the Albino's Warren, a very nice photo challenge in the dark woods. Love the Wren, it works really well.

Warren Baker said...

I think the Albino Squirrels are probably siblings.

Warren Baker said...

Marc, I wish I could get some decent light on those Squirrels, but they are so wary any sort of shot is a bonus!

Gravel Pit Birder said...

Jealous of your Wheatear of my favourite birds (they are so smart looking) to watch and waiting my first sighting this year so I have already planned a trip to the seaside (Dungeness) in early April.
Its all getting very exciting Warren!!

Warren Baker said...

I'll be off to Dunge very soon too :-)