My walk today was never going to live up to the visit of yesterday, but the 50 species I found this morning contained some nice birds.
My initial early walk of Migrant Alley didn't give me the anticipated Wheatear, only the half dozen LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS, 18 HERRING GULLS, and flyover MEADOW PIPIT were of note there. The Wooded Headland to the North of Migrant Alley had both CHIFFCHAFF and BLACKCAP singing from it, then passing back down the sheep pasture I saw a BUZZARD exit the Greenhouse Copse.
A very springlike wall of song was heard as I walked the wooded parts of my patch, with songs or calls from NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER, GOLDCREST, COAL TIT, BLUE TIT, GREAT TIT, BULLFINCH, CHAFFINCH, GREENFINCH, SONGTHRUSH, BLACKBIRD, WREN, DUNNOCK, ROBIN, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, GREEN WOODPECKER, STOCK DOVE, JAY, and a couple more each of Blackcap and Chiffchaff, even the TAWNY OWL gave a hoot! The best song and one of my favourites, was heard from the banks of the main lake though, when my first WILLOW WARBLER (79,64) of the year gave its summery descending trill, its arrival being 3 days later than the median average first date for the 14 years of recording.
Here it is, the first Willow Warbler of 2015, having a good preen after its long northerly flight
On the lakes I was again surprised, but pleased, to see the GOOSANDER present on the ornamental lake, the Coots have disappeared again though, leaving the just the regulars of MUTE SWAN, MALLARD, MOORHEN, CANADA GOOSE and GREYLAG GOOSE, the latter being seen on its nest.
Goosander, this bird looks to be a male coming out of 'eclipse' plumage.
A LITTLE OWL called from the Small Holding as I passed through on my way to a second visit to Migrant Alley, where upon my arrival, a scan along the battered hedgerow, revealed, at last, 2 superb male WHEATEARS (80,65). They took one look at me and flew off onto the paddocks, who can blame them! I did however get a distant shot of one, then left them to feed. I say 'at last' a Wheatear, but their sighting today is bang on the median average first sighting date for the past 14 years.
Wheatear! The years patch list reaches 80 :-)
They were a bit distant so I had to crop these shots quite a bit!