It was good to get out for a full patch walk today, and it turned out to be quite an eventful 3 and a half hour visit. I recorded an excellent tally of 51 bird species, no Fieldfare or Redwing were seen, nor were any Bullfinches, when they could have been expected. The surprise of the day was seeing my first SWALLOW (74,68) of the year, which was joined shortly after by another, both males, returning to the small stables at a house along Ashes Lane. A nice Summer migrant Species for the March list, the third earliest record I have, the 15 year average first sighting date being the 3rd April. This is the sixth March out the 15 now recorded, in which Swallow has been seen and it takes the months list to 68, that's the fifth best March tally, but just 3 off the record March tally.
All three of the resident raptor species were recorded today - the KESTREL pair at the Greenhouse Grounds, the BUZZARD pair at the Wet Woods and a SPARROWHAWK over Migrant Alley, where on the sheep pasture I was surprised to see no fewer than 11 LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS, along with 8 BLACK HEADED GULLS and a COMMON GULL.
Three CHIFFCHAFFS were present, one singing from the banks of the main lake, while the other two were singing from the Scrubby Woods, where TREECREEPER, GOLDCREST, NUTHATCH, COAL TIT, STOCK DOVE, GREEN and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, plus SISKIN and LESSER REDPOLL were also found.
Only the usual species were on the lakes, those being MUTE SWAN, CANADA GOOSE, MALLARD, COOT and MOORHEN, the long odds of finding a different duck species were lengthened further by the presence of a fisherman on the small lake.
It was good to see a pair of LONG TAILED Tits building a nest in the ''Hedgerow'' along High House lane, I fear their efforts will come to an early end though, as there is barely enough cover to conceal their intricate artwork, but they have to nest somewhere :-(
Flyovers from singles and small parties of MEADOW PIPITS continue to be recorded, along with SKYLARK, YELLOWHAMMER, a skein of 6 GREYLAG GEESE and this LITTLE EGRET, a nice addition to any daylist :-)
I was able to get this snap shot of it as it flew SW