Monday 15 April 2013

A brisk wind blew again today, but with it were some sunny spells, making for a pleasant enough day, a day in which I spent 8 hours out in the field, seeing 55 species in all , a very good total for my patch  :-)

A real mix of species were recorded, as can be expected at this time of year, with winter birds exiting the country and summer birds arriving, the left over winter species included a FIELDFARE on the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, my latest ever date for this species by two days, there were also a few flyover SISKIN about.

Fewer Gulls were seen today, just 2 BLACK HEADED, 4 LESSER BLACK BACKED, and eight HERRING GULLS, which all flew over. A LAPWING (68) that flew up from the Tree Nursery field was my first this month, normally a bird associated with winter here.

As for the Summer birds, at least 6 CHIFFCHAFFS are now on territory, as well as two BLACKCAPS, but no increase in SWALLOW numbers yet, with the same 3 pairs being seen again today, my second WHEATEAR of the spring was a pleasant surprise, one was seen in the Tree Nursery field, unusual to get them here.

On the lakes this morning there were 14 CANADA GEESE, the nesting GREYLAG GEESE pair, a GREY HERON, 4 MALLARD, 6 MOORHEN and the COOT pair, which fed 5 of their 6 offspring, at least that I could see.

A productive sky watch was had once I'd finished the full patch walk, the more notable flyovers were  from YELLOWHAMMER, and SKYLARK, whilst the usual trio of hunting raptor species also showed up - KESTREL, SPARROWHAWK and COMMON BUZZARD, however, they were joined by another today, when a fantastic MARSH HARRIER (85, 69) went over, this is a very scarce sighting on my patch, and the first ever Marsh Harrier seen in April, incredibly the 12 year combined April species list is now on 106, that's over three quarters of all the species seen on my patch! Anyway, I grabbed a few record shots, of what looked to be a sub-adult male, I think you may just be able to pick out the salient points for Marsh Harrier at least!
Wow! Marsh harrier, a real treat for me on my patch, the year list increases!

I headed off home for lunch eventually, where as usual whilst eating I kept an eye on my garden feeders, which are still attracting a few Siskins and LONG TAILED TITS, as well as the two male Blackcaps, which have surprisingly been joined by a female bird, more Blackcaps in my garden than out in the woods! A bigger surprise was to turn up though, when I spotted my first WILLOW WARBLER (86,70) of the year moving amongst my Elder tree, a brilliant species to have in my garden, not had one since 2004  :-) This is 33rd species to visit my garden this year already, and the 27th this month, that sets a new April record, and that's without a  House Sparrow!

Looking at my arrival dates for Willow Warbler, todays bird arrived 8 days later than the median average date, yesterdays Wheatear by the way, arrived just two days later than the median average date.

Today also gave me my first Comma Butterfly of the year, last years first Comma was on the 12th March! Two Tortoiseshell Butterflies were also seen today.

ROBIN, from the College Grounds


Marc Heath said...

8 hrs in the field, birding heaven. Well done with the Marsh Harrier.

Warren Baker said...

Thanks Marc,
April is a great time to be out, weather permitting!

Steve Tomlinson said...

Well done Warren for a fantastic patch total the hard work does certainly pay off.

ShySongbird said...

Sounds like you've had a lovely day Warren. Congrats on the Marsh Harrier and on the garden Willow Warbler. What a great bird to have in the garden! Your lunchtimes are getting as legendary as Greenie's breakfasts ;-)

Anonymous said...

What a great day you've had Warren with plenty of goodies :-) Well done managing to get Marsh Harrier on your patch and hopefully your Willow Warbs will soon make their way up here.

Warren Baker said...

Hi Steve,
You've put in some long days yourself mate :-)

Warren Baker said...

It was indeed a lovely day :-)

I am flattered indeed to be mentioned in the same post as the great Greenie LoL

Warren Baker said...

Hi Dave,
I should imagine Willow warbs will be with you this week mate :-)

Stephen Mills said...

Well done on the Marsh Harrier today,Warren.Haven't had Willow warbler here yet. You've had a great couple of days.

Warren Baker said...

Thanks Steve,
Willow Warblers are scarce here, only pass through at Migration times, unfortunately :-(

Alan Pavey said...

Excellent stuff Warren, there was a Marsh Harrier here yesterday :-)

Phil said...

Marsh Harrier! What a fantastic bird to get on your patch. You're becoming a legend in your own lunchtime Warren:-)

Anonymous said...

Well done wiRth the Harrier, Warren. Really struggling to connect with passage species up here at the mo.

Adam said...

Your having a cracking few days Warren.