More rain, wind and dull conditions made for a less than enjoyable patch visit this morning, it's so frustrating!!
I spent 90 minutes around the lakes and Scrubby Woods area, as this is where I am most likely to pick up a possible Turtle Dove or Garden Warbler for the year list, both having bred here in previous years. Alas, neither were found, maybe they are here but just keeping silent, as was the case for most of the birds this morning, only a handful of songsters were in the mood for singing, BLACKCAP and CHIFFCHAFF were at the forefront, with CHAFFINCH and BLACKBIRD backing those up, a NUTHATCH called, as did a couple of BULLFINCH, and the TAWNY OWL was heard hooting again, however it was nothing like the chorus that should be heard in a English woodland in April.
On the lakes 5 unpaired CANADA GEESE, and two GREYLAG GEESE were seen but the family parties of them seen yesterday were nowhere to be seen today, they may have moved to a nearby field. Just one adult COOT was present on the ornamental lake, along with two male MALLARDS and the MUTE SWAN pair, the female of which is sitting tight on her eggs.
With so little of note being seen in the dark and dripping woods, I decided to spend a couple of hours sky watching over on my seat at Migrant Alley, hoping for my first Swift of the year, that unfortunately wasn't seen, but it can only be a matter of days now before one speeds over :-) I did watch a high flying party of HOUSE MARTINS moving westwards, their white rumps gleaming against the cold grey backdrop of the next approaching shower cloud. A YELLOWHAMMER called as it flew over, and the 3 regular raptor species put in an appearance, 2 BUZZARDS, 2 SPARROWHAWKS and the male KESTREL, the female Kestrel was seen sitting on the Greenhouse roofs behind me, maybe she has young to feed now ? Both HERRING GULLS and a couple of LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS drifted over south westwards, the local Corvids moved across the sheep pasture and paddocks, along with the 5-6 pairs of SWALLOWS, the flock of a dozen LINNETS kept alighting on the distant fence rails, and kept needing to be checked that they weren't Whinchats or Wheatears :-) apart from that though, it was a chilly and friutless sky watch overall.
Walking back home through the Greenhouse Grounds, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and COMMON WHITHROAT were heard singing, those, with a SONGTHRUSH, plus a couple of WRENS and a DUNNOCK all singing just about convinced me it was indeed April :-)
Nothing for the camera today, just no light out there, or Butterflies, or Damsels! Fingers crossed for at least a few hours of sustained sunshine at some point this week!