Another lovely, sunny spring day to get out and visit my patch, although first thing it was a bit chilly with a ground frost.
This mornings visit was a bit slower than yesterdays, I ticked off the singing WRENS, BLACKBIRDS, GREENFINCH, ROBIN, DUNNOCK, CHAFFINCH, and SKYLARK, plus the calls of BLUE and GREAT TITS, CARRION CROW, GREEN WOODPECKER, COLLARED DOVE, and PHEASANT on the early part of my walk as I wandered along Ashes Lane.
Out on the sheep pasture and paddocks of Migrant Alley, just a few ROOKS, JACKDAWS and WOODPIGEONS fed out on the frosty grass, but as I neared the Wooded Headland to the north of Migrant Alley, I heard the unmistakable song of my first LESSER WHITETHROAT (83,66) of the year, a whole ten days earlier than the 13 year median average date, and the second earliest first sighting date I have recorded here. Its unusual to have Lesser Whitethroat arrive on my patch before Common Whitethroat, this is just the 3rd spring it has happened. Both the CHIFFCHAFF and BLACKCAP were also singing from the Wooded Headland, plus as I walked back towards the Greenhouse Grounds I saw the LITTLE OWL in the Greenhouse Copse, the first time i've seen it there this month.
The rest of the 5 hour visit was spent around the Wet Woods, Scrubby Woods and Lakes area, not sure what I was hoping would turn up, maybe a Nightingale or a Turtle Dove or perhaps a Garden Warbler, but in the end nothing new was added to the year list. Checking up on all the nests, I found the GREYLAG GOOSE, MUTE SWAN, COOT and MISTLETHRUSH all in order, but the CANADA GOOSE nest looks to have been deserted, not sure why, the nest looked well secure on a small island on the lake.
More Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs sang in the Scrubby Woods, along with the local resident species, a female MANDARIN duck was in the Wet Woods, where NUTHATCH and TREECREEPER were seen, nothing unusual to record in there today though.
Walking back out onto the Ashes lane Field, I saw the only BUZZARD of the morning, and watched the KESTREL fly over to the Greenhouse Grounds, the SKYLARK pair were up singing, and 2 LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS went over with a single HERRING GULL.
49 species were recorded this morning, an excellent total, but no Cuckoo was heard, it's not the same getting out early on a mid April morning and not hearing the constant song of a Cuckoo :-(
Not a single photo was taken today - well, not any of any use! By 10:00hrs the light is so strong, bird photographs just dont look right. The Butterflies didn't stop around either, but i've already got images for those that are about, just a bit of a wait now for the other species to emerge, plus those anticipated Dragons and damsels :-)