Saturday 21 April 2012

The rain stayed away for todays full patch walk, and in the four and a half hour visit a good total of 49 species was recorded, nothing new for the month or year list, but some interesting records were found all the same.

A CUCKOO was heard calling from the Scrubby Woods/Lakes area early in the visit as I crossed Migrant Alley, where 4 HERRING GULLS, 2 LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS and an immature BLACK HEADED GULL were seen on the sheep pasture.
Black Headed Gull
A pair of SWALLOWS were seen at the College Stables, whilst a little further on at the College Grounds, the first successful breeding birds of the spring were recorded - MOORHENS, a pair were feeding at least three young on one of the small ponds.Walking the College Stream, I heard CHIFFCHAFF and BLACKCAP singing, but they were the only spring birds seen, I was hoping for a Lesser Whitethroat. On the way over to the Scrubby Woods and lake area, I saw the KESTREL pair in the vicinity of their nest box.
The Swallows are home!    :-)
At the lakes there were 10 CANADA GEESE and 6 GREYLAG GEESE, with just 2 drake MALLARDS and 2 MOORHENS, more of interest was a drake MANDARIN DUCK, maybe it has a female incubating eggs nearby, as one did last year ?  The most cheering sight here though was finding the first ever successfully breeding COOTS for my patch, at least 4 young were seen being frantically fed by both parents, good to get a new patch breeder  :-)
Mandarin Duck
In the Scrubby Woods, the hoped for Nightingale wasn't found, a negative result for the first visit of the BTO nightingale survey, but plenty of Blackcaps, and Chiffchaffs were singing, as well as the regular GOLDCREST, SONGTHRUSH, BLACKBIRD, WREN, DUNNOCK, and ROBIN, more unusual for here was a SKYLARK singing away as it drifted over, 4 BULLFINCH and a TREECREEPER was also noted.
A newly arrived WHITETHROAT was seen in the Tree Nursery as I made my way back over to Migrant Alley for a sky watch, which was pretty quiet, a SPARROWHAWK, and a trio of BUZZARDS were seen, plus a single HOUSE MARTIN heading NW.
Whitethroat - just about a normal view of one  :-)
Later in the afternoon whilst watching my garden feeders, this handsome, but not entirely welcome Sparrowhawk dropped in.


ShySongbird said...

Yes, they are handsome but a bit of a pain! Lovely photos of the Swallows, now they are a welcome sight :-) I also like the photo of the Blackcap. Excellent news on the Coots Warren!

Kelly said...

Hi Warren! Glad to hear you added breeding Moorhens to your patch! The photos of the Sparrowhawk are some of your finest photos ever. The eye is beautiful, and I love the over the shoulder posture to see how the feathers of the wings lay. Beautiful...

Marc Heath said...

Great set Warren.

Chris said...

Wow the sparrow hawk is wonderful and the pictures splendid Warren. I've not seen the swallow here yet but usually the spring storms brgins them... We did not get any storms yet so I guess I have to be patient...

Anonymous said...

"The Swallows are home"

It`s alright for some, Warren ;-)

Noushka said...

What a lovely set of pictures.... But WOW for the Hawk!
Those pics are fantastic!
Great post, Cheers!