After missing a patch walk yesterday, I was eager to get out and find some new species for the April list, and maybe even for the year list, I wasn't disappointed, as I soon added KESTREL (51) to the months list when the female was seen on the Greenhouses, then a few minutes later as I entered the pasture and paddocks of Migrant Alley, a GREY HERON (52) flew low over. A couple of MEADOW PIPITS were the only passage birds noted at Migrant Alley, but at the Wooded Headland to the north of the paddocks a BLACKCAP had joined a singing CHIFCHAFF, the first to arrive in this traditional territory. Just 4 BLACK HEADED GULLS fed with the JACKDAWS and ROOKS on the sheep pasture, the Rooks have young now, so as they avidly collect food for their offspring, they can be approached within photographing distance, I hope to get some photo's of them when/if the light gets better :-) As I scanned the sky, a LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL and a few HERRING GULLS flew over, then so did a MEDITERRANEAN GULL (75,53) a very good gull species to get here, they have become an annual sighting in recent years, but still only one or two records in the year.
I checked up on the LITTLE OWLS at the old shack in the Ashes lane Field, then made my way over to the lakes and woods. On the lakes the CANADA and GREYLAG GEESE are sitting tight on eggs, but the COOT pair have no young about yet, the MUTE SWANS have changed nest sites, and have restarted to build another nest, MALLARD and MOORHEN were about in one's and two's. Just as I was leaving the lakes I had the very good fortune to see a GREEN SANDPIPER (76,54) fly in low, call a few times and fly off again, there are no suitable muddy edges here for waders, but one of the islands on the ornamental lake has been cleared of vegetation, so might have attracted the Greensand briefly, either way, this is a really scarce species for my patch, especially in spring, I have records in just 7 off the 13 years of watching my patch, the last one was in August 2011.
Feeling pleased with myself, I walked the Scrubby Woods, in the hope of a Willow Warbler or maybe some other spring arrival, none were found, but I contented myself with the mixed song of CHIFFCHAFF, BLACKCAP, COAL TIT, and GREAT TIT.
The Wet Woods was good for JAYS, GREAT SPOTTED and GREEN WOODPECKERS, as well as NUTHATCH, but no Treecreeper today, the Mallard family were seen as I fruitlessly searched the pools of water for a Mandarin Duck, I know they are somewhere in there!
Later in the morning, after brunch, I went back out to find some flutters, and was pleased to catch up with my first ORANGE TIP of the spring - or rather I didn't catch up with it, or I would have got a photo of it! I did however get a couple of images of a SMALL TORTOISESHELL and the Bee flies that now proliferate the woodland floor. I also saw both COMMON BUZZARD and SPARROWHAWK soaring over the Wet Woods, bring a the day list to 50 species again :-)