Tuesday 16 April 2013

I made three ninety minute patch visits today, the first was over to the lakes on Scrubby Woods at 06:30hrs, when the weather was pretty awful (again!) a strong wind blew drizzly rain across the area, and it barely got light for the first 3 hours of today.

On the lakes I checked up on the COOT family, both parents were feeding the young, of which I could see at least 3 from where I stood, the GREYLAG GEESE pair are still incubating eggs, while eleven CANADA GEESE chased each other around the water noisily. The only other lake dwellers today were 3 male MALLARDS and 4 MOORHEN. A scan around the bankside vegetation was made, but little found, although I did get to hear my first WILLOW WARBLER song this year, one of my favourite songsters  :-)  I stayed around for 20 mins or so hoping to here a Cuckoo call, but failed to hear one, I wonder if I will this year?

My second patch visit  was around 10:00am, when I walked the fields and Paddocks of Migrant Alley, the wind was still strong and gusty, making it hard to hear any overhead calls, but I did hear then see a YELLOWHAMMER go over, and at least 2 MEADOW PIPIT. 4 LINNETS perched up on the fence line, not quite the Wheatear or Whinchat that can appear her though ! I did have some fortune however, whilst walking the Wooded Headland I found my first WHITETHROAT (87,71) of the year, its arrival here is 2 days earlier than the 12 year median arrival date, and the third earliest spring record. Despite much sky watching, no other new migrant species were seen today, the best on offer was a couple of SPARROWHAWKS being harassed by the four SWALLOWS from the College Stables, and 3 HOUSE MARTINS that got blown through the area.

The third visit was induced by the appearance of the sun, once again I set of for a circuit of Migrant Alley, and a bit of a sky watch, but again little was seen, a large raptor flew over very high up, probably a buzzard, but it was just a black smudge in the sky, the strong wind didn't help as I couldn't keep my bins steady! I had seen that the Tree Nursery field was now being ploughed, and took a look to see what was taking advantage of the freshly turned soil, I found 30 ROOKS, 11 JACKDAWS, 4 MAGPIES, 8 STOCK DOVES, and a dozen HERING GULLS with 2 LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS.
The Tree Nursery field, going under the plough, such a loss for the wildlife. At least some kind of strip has been left unploughed around the edges of the field, only very thin though. Last year this field held two pairs of Whitethroat, imagine, they have flown all the way from Africa and found their nesting habitat gone!
Talking of nest sites, I found this Chaffinch nest in the ''hedgerow'' at Migrant Alley, and along Ashes Lane a LONG TAILED TIT pair have started a nest, I'll keep an eye on both, but I dont give much for the Chaffinches chances of survival, the hedge has been flailed to bits and has little to conceal the nest, it will make easy prey for a predator. Cant blame the predator, its the lack of good nest sites that takes the blame  :-(
........and here is a Chaffinch this ones from my garden  :-)

STARLING on fence post at Migrant Alley
This Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly was also seen this afternoon, not easy to get a decent photo with the 500mm lens!


Anonymous said...

As always an interesting read Warren and it's great to hear that the Whitethroats are back, especially since they are probably my favourite warbler species. Good to see the Small Tort. too :-)

Marc Heath said...

Nice one with the Whitethroat. You seem to be plodding along nicely. The first Cuckoo at Reculver today, not seen by myself though but nice to know they are arriving.

Warren Baker said...

If it would warm up a bit and the wind drop, I'd put up some more flutter shots :-)

Warren Baker said...

Things keeping me interested here Marc :-)

Cuckoo needs to get its skates on, never recorded one later than the 18th before!

Stephen Mills said...

Good to see you had the Whitethroat today.
I'm sure the Cuckoo will turn up soon.

Alan Pavey said...

I had my first Whitethroats today, your list looks a lot healthier than mine at the moment :-)

Simian said...

hey warren
whitethroat....fab....and a lovely spotty female starling pic too. how sad it would be not to hear cuckoo. having lived in hastings for many years my local hotspot was rye harbour reserve where cuckoo was a given, easily heard and usually magnificent views. im wondering what it will be like here in kent and where i will get my cuckoo fix?
im gagging at the b it to get over to whetsted pits to see whats arrived and desperately hoping for nightingale.
bird on!

Anonymous said...

Saw my first Small Tort of the year today, Warren. Just waiting for a Brimstone now.

Kelly said...

Hi Warren, I'm catching up. I love the photos of the Brambling in the earlier post. Glad he dropped by your garden.

Greenie said...

Warren ,
Good to see you did finally get some sunshine , but that moring was grim .
The way things are going , that Starling will be classed as a 'mega' soon .

ShySongbird said...

Well done on the Whitethroat Warren :-) So very sad about the loss of habitat, your comment about their journey from Africa etc. is exactly what I would have thought too.

One of my blogland friends hears so many Cuckoos from her garden each year that she said it becomes tedious!!! She heard the first on Saturday.

I know I've said it before but your header photo really is superb Warren, it stops me dead every time, quite mesmerising!

Warren Baker said...

Thank you Songbird, you are very kind ;-)

No Cuckoo yet :-( (17th)