Wednesday 1 April 2009

The weather is still settled and sunny, but a cool easterly wind picked up this afternoon. My first patch visit for April, and my efforts to make inroads on the April target of 71 (set in both 2006, 2008) started with a quick look over at the scrubby orchard, adjacent the lake, mainly to listen for that Blackcap, I heard, NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER, COAL TIT, CHAFFINCH, GREENFINCH, BULLFINCH, SONGTHRUSH, MISTLE THRUSH and BLACKBIRD all singing, but no Blackcap, but it wont be long now......I hope!

Only a quick scan of the lake was had, and a GREY HERON, 6 CANADA GEESE a few MOORHEN and 2 drake MALLARD were all was to be seen.

As I passed through the tree nursery, I had a nice encounter, a Slow Worm! Only the second record of one on my patch, it was a brief encounter, but I got a quick snap of it.

My usual stint at Migrant Alley was a pretty cold affair, as the wind had really picked up across the fields. I heard the LITTLE OWLS calling, a nice species for the April list, as was the LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL that flew over, and the pair of BUZZARDS briefly seen high up , before disapearing into the blue. However, as I stood up from my seat, and walked over to the hedgerow to take cover from the annoying wind, I saw a small bird fly low over the plough and sit atop a fence post, it was about 60 yards away, but I could see it was a chat, I tried sneaking up on it, but never got to more than within 30 yards of it, I took some distant photo's, and watched it for sometime, feeding, flitting out to the plough to pick up and insect and sometimes flying up and plucking one in mid air. I took it to be a STONECHAT (82) but when I looked at the photo's it looked like a Whinchat, in some respects, especially the light eye stripe, but it's still a bit early for them - isn't it ? have a look at the pics and see what you think, the're not very good as the wind was buffeting me all the time!

Above and below the Stonechat, or is it ?

Below; the Grey Heron at the lake

Below is only the second ever record for a Slow worm on my patch, and my only photo!
Last of all a Peacock Buttefly, a little the worse for wear, but still nice to see!


Greenie said...

Warren ,
Don't want to confuse the issue , but the two shots of a 'chat' look like different birds . The one on the post looks very Whinchat and the one on the wire a Stone/Whin/chat . Perhaps it's the way the light has caught them ?
Have you thought about putting down a few tins or felts for reptiles ?
Sorry about the singing Blackcap - its the Weetabix syndrome again .

Steve said...

Can't make up my mind about the 'chat but I like the Slow Worm. I can't remember ever seeing one!

Kelly said...

...I hope you make your record. You seem to be on a roll, so I bet you will. That Slow Worm thing is interesting. I have no idea what it is! I will have to give it a quick look up.

Ken. said...

Hi Warren
As Greenie says, I think they look like different birds, admittedly the one on the post doea look like a Whinchat. Bit of a tough call. Well done with the slow Worm.

Josh Jenkins Shaw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Josh Jenkins Shaw said...

In my opinion, definatly a Stonechat. Whinchat wouldn't show white in the primary base patch. This bird does, indicating Stonechat.

Chris said...

Hi Warren,
I'm happy you got some nice weather and it looks like you got a nice observation day again. I'm amazed by the picture of the worm. This guy looks so huge!! incredible, I have to say. Nice for the stonechat

ShySongbird said...

I think it's a Whinchat Warren because of the white above the eye.
Well done on the Slow Worm.

Stewart said...

Warren both pics show a female Stonechat. As with most things some show individual marks that differ from the guides. The structure and dark overall plumage are clinchers here. The white 'eyestripe' isnt a proper Whinchat supercillium, more like some feather bleaching / wear or maybe a hint of albinism. Anyway you get the drift....

EP Andy said...

Hi Warren

I tend to agree with Stewart, I think it's afemale Stonechat with an aabnormal white marking above the eye. Yes and it is still too early for Whinchats. Godd bird though, well done.

Nice to see the slow worm, they're so difficult to find these days.