Saturday 30 April 2016

There was a slight frost this morning, but that soon melted away under some reasonably warm sunshine.

For the last patch visit of the month I decided to walk the Pub Field, Ashes Lane Fields, Migrant Alley and the Greenhouse grounds, plus have a bit of a sky watch. I wasn't expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised when I added GREY WAGTAIL (73)to the months list when one alighted on the old shack at the Ashes Lane Fields, then later, as I sky watched, I saw the first 3 SWIFTS (87,74) of the year wheeling over the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, a fantastic sight, welcome back! Their arrival is just one day later than the 15year median first sighting date, but is the first record of an April swift since 2012.

LESSER WHITETHROAT, COMMON WHITETHROAT, BLACKCAP, CHIFFCHAFF and SWALLOW represented the other summer species seen today, the Lesser Whitethroat looks to have attracted a mate, as two birds were seen chasing along Ashes Lane  :-)

BUZZARD and KESTREL were the only raptors seen on my sky watch today and HERRING GULL was the only Gull species.

April ended with a tally of 74 bird species recorded, which is the 5th best April out of the 15 recorded and one short of the mean tally for the previous 5 Aprils. It was disappointing not to see a Cormorant fly over, the first April this species has not been recorded, but more than disappointing was the absence of the Cuckoo, also a species that has always been recorded in April, another sad local extinction for Pittswood  :-(

On a brighter note, I arrived home to find the years first record of Orange Tip Butterfly, when one flitted around my garden, giving me a few photo's  :-)

Orange Tip.

Friday 29 April 2016

The last full patch walk for April was undertaken today, in cloudy but dry conditions, with a cool wind still. Sunny spells and showers developed for the afternoon.

Bluebells in the Wet Woods ( Photo courtesy of my lovely wife )

I tallied up 45 species in all, a bit disappointing for April, but some species are keeping very low profiles as they are now breeding, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Coal Tit are such species, avoiding detection today.

The LESSER WHITETHROAT is still singing around the Greenhouse Grounds, trying to attract a mate, the COMMON WHITETHROAT pair are also there, as are the KESTRELS. BLACKCAP, CHIFFCHAFF and SWALLOW were the only other summer birds on offer on my patch today.

The MISTLETHRUSH nest in the Oak tree at the large garden adjacent to the lakes has probably got young now, both adults were seen in the vicinity.

The SISKIN pair continue to visit my garden feeders, they were seen this afternoon, be good to get this species on the May list  :-)

A LITTLE OWL (72) was at last recorded for the April list when one was seen perched in a tree at the Small Holding, this addition to the months list still leaves me short of 3 species if I am to reach the mean average species tally for the 5 previous Aprils and still 7 short of the record April tally, with just one visit left, I dont think these targets will be reached now.

ROOKS are the predominant species on the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, collecting food for their nestlings.


Thursday 28 April 2016

The sunny start to the day lasted a bit longer than recent days, plus there were no showers to dodge, but it was still cool for April, especially in the exposed windy spots.

My three hour patch visit this morning didn't turn up anything new for the month or year lists, nor did I find any newly fledged birds for the 2016 ''Successfully Bred'' list. Sightings of note on my patch today were the LESSER WHITETHROAT that sang once again from Ashes Lane and the Greenhouse Grounds, where the COMMON WHITETHROAT pair were active and the male KESTREL was perched up on one of the greenhouses, earlier I had watched at least 60 PIED WAGTAILS fly from their roost there.

Another Common Whitethroat sang from the drainage ditch at the Ashes Lane Fields, over which 2 BUZZARDS flew as they left the Wet Woods. On the lakes, just a lone male MANDARIN DUCK was of any note.

An hours sky watching from my seat at Migrant Alley was a big disappointment, with just a single LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL seen passing over.

Later in the afternoon, I had a pair of SISKIN on my garden feeders, nice to see them still about  :-)

Photo's for today.........................

Male Kestrel on one of the Greenhouses

One of the GREYLAG GEESE pair that continue to feed on the sheep pasture

A windswept DUNNOCK

Another Dunnock, singing out of the wind  :-)

Wednesday 27 April 2016

Once again, as yesterday, the morning dawned bright and frosty, before cloud increased, bringing some showers, but at least the cold wind had dropped a little!

I did the ninth and penultimate April full patch walk today, finding 46 bird species on the way, these didn't include anything new for the month or year list, even though there are lots of species missing from both that could reasonably expected to be found.

It was good to hear the LESSER WHITETHROAT singing again today, hopefully it will find a mate, but will they find a nesting place in the dwindling scrub around the Greenhouse Grounds ? BLACKCAP, CHIFFCHAFF, COMMON WHITETHROAT and SWALLOW were the only other summer species recorded on my visit.

Common Whitethroat at the Greenhouse Grounds.

Flyover species were few today, just HERRING GULL, LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL went over today, plus the CANADA GEESE and GREYLAG GEESE as they went to and from the lakes, where I had been tipped off about some newly arrived Goslings, but I didn't see any as I scanned around the 3 water bodies, however, I did see the first MOORHEN chicks of the spring. This kicks off the 2016 ''successfully bred'' list, it was the 11th of May before Moorhen chicks were seen last year.

The local BUZZARD pair were seen over the wet Woods, the only other raptor today was the male KESTREL, the female I assume is on eggs in the nest box. I checked the MISTLETHRUSH nest that is in an Oak tree in a large garden adjacent to the lakes, the female is still sitting tight, ditto the MUTE SWANS on the Ornamental lake.

Not much else to report, certainly no more Butterflies species have hatched out yet in this cool weather, last April I recorded 11 species, this year its just 5 so far!

At least I got a few photo's today, i'll hold a couple back for tomorrow, but here's a WREN to brighten the post today............


Tuesday 26 April 2016

There was a frost this morning, but a clear blue sky to go with it, however a cool wind blew and cloud soon rolled in, giving some hefty, wintery showers by midday.

I spent 3 hours walking the greenhouse Grounds, with it's associated Copse, Migrant Alley, the pub Field and the ashes Lane Fields this morning, but the only place that had any birds of interest was the Greenhouse Copse, where along the sunny edge, out of the wind, temperatures were ten degrees higher, attracting many insects, which in turn had brought in the Warblers. I found 2 WHITETHROATS, 2 CHIFFCHAFFFS, a LESSER WHITETHROAT, and three BLACKCAPS all feeding from the newly emerging foliage, even the SWALLOWS had congregated here, with at least 6 zipping around.

The best of what was found out on the fields were a few HERRING and LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS, as well as the 40-50 ROOKS all collecting food for nestlings. Overhead there were fly throughs of both CANADA and GREYLAG GEESE plus a couple of BUZZARDS, while at the Greenhouse Grounds the male KESTREL had come out of hiding, it wasn't seen on yesterdays visit, but then not a great deal was! Hence no post yesterday!

No photo's today - still waiting for spring to arrive, so I can get some Butterfly and Damselfly action!

Sunday 24 April 2016

light rain fell early this morning, when it felt unseasonably cold in the wind.

In the almost wintery conditions, my three hour patch visit produced little of note, a SPARROWHAWK was seen working its way through the Wet Woods, and the male KESTREL hunted over the Greenhouse Grounds, a BUZZARD was seen soaring over the Ashes Lane Fields later in the visit. Two HERRING GULLS and a LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL were on the Ashes Lane Fields.

Hardly any song was heard in the Scrubby Woods, just one each of CHIFFCHAFF and BLACKCAP sang. There is still no Cuckoo calling here, could this be the first time in my 15 years of recording that April does not produce one ?

A very poor visit for April  :-(

Nothing for the camera today, but I do have a few more shots of the female Sparrowhawk from yesterday.

Saturday 23 April 2016

After a bright start, cloud built up throughout the morning and a cold wind developed again.

I did a four hour full patch walk this morning, finding a good tally of 47 species, despite not seeing a Treecreeper or Coal tit. The highlight of the visit was finding my first LESSER WHITETHROAT (86,71) of the year singing from a large garden adjoining the Greenhouse Grounds, where a pair of COMMON WHITETHROATS were seen back on their territory. BLACKCAP, CHIFFCHAFF and SWALLOW were the other summer species recorded.

A small group of HERRING GULLS flew over, with them were a lone LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL and 2 BLACK HEADED GULLS, a skein of 7 GREYLAG GEESE also flew over but nothing else of note did.

A BUZZARD and the male KESTREL were up and about hunting, plus a female SPARROWHAWK was seen catching it's prey - an unfortunate COLLARED DOVE. The MISTLETHRUSH nest was checked, all is well, with the mother incubating eggs, but one of the CANADA GEESE nests over on the lakes looks have been deserted, however the MUTE SWAN nest look to be safe so far.

As I wandered along the edge of the Scrubby Woods, I was just thinking to myself how few the photo opportunities have been recently, then whoosh! In comes the Sparrowhawk and drags a Collared dove from a bush, she immediately started to devour the dove some 30 meters from me, but I managed to sneak up and get a few images  ;-)

I took over 100 photo's ! All the action was taking place in a rather dark shaded area, so I had to keep changing the camera settings, especially as the sun was continually going in and out.

A bit gruesome, but that's nature

I'll post a few more images on tomorrows blog 

Friday 22 April 2016

It was dull and overcast this morning, with a cold NE wind blowing.

The was a more positive side to my 3 hour patch visit today, my early walk around Migrant Alley produced a flyover RAVEN (84, 68), only the third record on my patch for this species, the other two records being back in April 2012. I added another species to the year list when 5 SAND MARTINS (85,69) were seen, also flying over Migrant Alley, joining at times with half a dozen SWALLOWS, a good spring species to get on my patch, I don't see them every spring. Migrant Alley also came up with an unusual passing bird, a KINGFISHER (70) which sped through, bullet like, bringing up the 70th species for the month. Other flyovers recorded were GREYLAG GOOSE, LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL, HERRING GULL, and a spectacular PEREGRINE! BUZZARD and KESTREL were also up hunting, plus a SKYLARK sang over the sheep pasture.

A look through the wooded areas of my patch proved uneventful, no sign of any spring migrants to join the BLACKCAPS and CHIFFCHAFFS that are already here. The lakes came up with a male MANDARIN DUCK, though, a bit different from the usual suspects, makes me wonder if there is a female around on a nest, a pair has bred here in the last few years.

Back home my garden proved interesting, with a pair of SISKIN still visiting the feeders plus a SONGTHRUSH prospecting around the shrubs and overgrown grass, more exciting though, was seeing a WHITETHROAT picking off insects from the vegetation in my wildlife area, get the habitat right and birds will visit - if only the huge football pitch sized gardens around me would take note!

Thursday 21 April 2016

High cloud slowly thinned, allowing some sunny spells to develop this morning, but a cool wind still blew.

Another uninspiring 3 hours were spent out on my patch today, where the arrival of those former breeding summer migrants, Cuckoo, Lesser Whitethroat and Turtle Dove now looks like it wont happen here, at best they will be recorded as passage birds, as will, if I'm lucky, the Garden warbler and Spotted flycatcher no doubt, sad times indeed.

I noted 3 LESSER REDPOLL fly over during a particularly baron sky watch, where just GREYLAG GOOSE, HERRING GULL and BUZZARD were other notable flyover species seen, but a SKYLARK sang from over the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley to cheer me somewhat.

The male KESTREL was up hunting around the Ashes Lane Fields, hopefully the female is on eggs now, in her box over at the Greenhouse Grounds, where I watched the male SPARROWHAWK whiz through.

Nothing on the lakes or in the woods to add to the months list, the BLACKCAPS and CHIFFCHAFFS in the scrubby Woods are busy building nests, at least they do well here still.

On a more positive note, I recorded my first Large red Damselfly of the year this afternoon, just one was seen in my garden, proper habitat!

Wednesday 20 April 2016

Long sunny spells were had this morning, but it felt cool in the cold wind when out of the sun!

My three hour visit this morning proved another disappointing one, with very little of note, when really there should be plenty to see, it being April. No new spring migrants were recorded and last weeks Whitethroat has moved on, leaving just the CHIFFCHAFF, BLACKCAP and SWALLOWS to represent the summer birds.

I noted two raptors today, BUZZARD and KESTREL, plus noted a GREY HERON fly over, that was all I wrote in my note book!

Some time was spent listening in the Scrubby Woods, but only the already mentioned Blackcap and Chiffchaff made it seem April like, I did enjoy trying to photograph the TREECREEPERS though, but not to the degree I would like !

Treecreeper. There are four pairs on my patch.

Tuesday 19 April 2016

This morning was mostly overcast, but a few bright spells were also enjoyed. The afternoon became sunny and warm, probably the warmest day of the year here  :-)

TAWNY OWL (67) was added to the April list yesterday evening, when two birds were heard from my house around 21:00hrs, making all sorts of screeching and calling, no Little Owls yet though.

A full patch walk this morning provided me with 46 bird species for the 4 hour visit, a few down on recent full patch walks, but the gull species that help pad the day lists out are at a premium now, only LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL was seen, plus the winter species are now almost gone, just a few SISKIN left at my garden feeders still, so with those,47 species were counted today :-)

No more new spring migrant species have arrived on my patch, although the second WILLOW WARBLER of the spring was heard singing from the Wet Woods. No other new species were added to the April list during my walk, but all the regulars turned up, CHIFFCHAFF, BLACKCAP and SWALLOW represented the rest of the summer species seen, while the raptors of KESTREL, SPARROWHAWK and BUZZARD all showed up. NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER, GOLDCREST, LONG TAILED TIT, COAL TIT, BULLFINCH, JAY, STOCK DOVE, GREEN WOODPECKER, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, and MISTLETHRUSH were the pick of the resident woodland species found, the most noteworthy species from the farmland and Greenhouse Grounds were : SKYLARK, LINNET, SONGTHRUSH and GREENFINCH. Few flyovers were noted today, a lone GREY HERON being of most interest.

Nothing on the lakes of much note today, where the MUTE SWANS, CANADA GEESE, MALLARDS and MOORHENS are all on nests.

In the warm sunshine this afternoon I went out to do some ''butterflying'' I had high hopes of finding my first Brimstone or Orange Tip of the year, but had to make do with Small White, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell sadly. Only the latter posed for a photo today.

Small Tortoiseshell. Hopefully, soon the freshly emerged ones will be out  :-)

Monday 18 April 2016

As yesterday, the day started frosty and sunny before clouding over for the afternoon.

I didn't post a blog yesterday, it was a dire visit, with disturbance everywhere, consequently, very little was of any note, just the 3 recently arrived summer species of BLACKCAP, CHIFFCHAFF and SWALLOW, two raptor species of BUZZARD and KESTREL, plus a GREY HERON that visited the lakes, very poor for an April visit  :-(

Today was slightly better, with all the recreational morons back at work! The third WHEATEAR record for the month was seen sitting on a paddock fence line at Migrant Alley, a cracking male, but it didn't hang about for a photo! Out on the sheep pasture a couple of LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS and 4 HERRING GULLS continue visit, with them were a pair of GREYLAG GEESE.

One of the Greylags on the sheep pasture.

Sheep on the sheep pasture

As yesterday, Buzzard and Kestrel were seen up hunting, Swallows were whizzing around the sheep, plus Blackcap and Chiffchaff were singing in the Scrubby Woods, the latter I watched for a while as it brought feathers in to line its nest. Scanning the lakes there was little to be seen at first, the MUTE SWANS are busy incubating eggs, as are a CANADA GEESE pair, a few MALLARD and MOORHENS were about as usual, but I then saw 2 MANDARIN DUCKS (66) both males swim out from the tree overhang, one more species for the months list, which is still languishing in 12th place out of the fifteen Aprils recorded, so many migrants are just not returning here this much habitat gone!

Back home the feeders are still being visited by SISKINS, but the Redpolls are long gone now. An interesting observation I made was seeing the STARLINGS taking Lavender sprigs up to their nest site. I looked up info on the lavender plant, using the internet, and found that it is has natural anti bacterial properties, so the starlings must use it to help keep the nest free from bacteria - but how did they come by this knowledge!

Saturday 16 April 2016

A much cooler and cloudier day than of late, with spots of rain about.

A four hour full patch walk this morning yielded a total of 49 bird species, of the regularly seen species, only the Coal Tit was missed today.

The highlight of this mornings was at last finding a WILLOW WARBLER (83,65), one was heard singing faintly from the bankside trees around the main lake, the 15 year median average first sighting date for this species is the 9th April, but now they no longer breed here, the first sighting date slips later and later.

A REED BUNTING was also a good patch record, one was at the Greenhouse Grounds, just the second record of this species for the year. Pairs of KESTREL, BUZZARD and SPARROWHAWK were seen for the raptors, but gulls were represented by only HERRING and LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS that flew over. Other notable flyovers were had from YELLOWHAMMER, SISKIN, SKYLARK, GREYLAG GOOSE and PIED WAGTAIL.

A TREECREEPER nest was found in the Small Holding area, but the trees there are always under threat of felling or tidying, so it remains to be seen if it will succeed. MISTLETHRUSH, SONGTHRUSH, BLACKBIRD, LONG TAILED TIT, CANADA GOOSE and MUTE SWAN were all seen on nests too.

CHIFFCHAFF. one of the three summer migrant species that are holding territory on my patch now, the others being SWALLOW and BLACKCAP

Another snap -shot of the Sparrowhawk as it marauds my garden feeding station !

Friday 15 April 2016

Unending showers fell across the area this morning, some particularly heavy, making for a typical April day.

I was only out for a couple of hours this morning, when I soon got fed up with the rain, but more so with the drone of chainsaws coming from the Wet Woods, whats up with these ''tidy brigade'' people every year I tell them not to slash and burn during the nesting season, but each year they do so, ignorant twats!

My visit was therefore confined to the fields and paddocks of Migrant Alley and the Greenhouse grounds, where it was good to see the KESTREL pair in the latter habitat, the female being at the nest box. A BLACKCAP and a CHIFFCHAFF were also seen around the greenhouses, along with a few PIED WAGTAILS, one pair were watched ferrying beakfulls of food to a concealed nest site.

Not much at all was noted out on the sheep pasture and paddocks of Migrant Alley, just 11 HERRING GULLS and 3 LESSER BACKED BACKED GULLS were of note, I had hoped the rain showers may have grounded something more interesting! A PEREGRINE flew low over and a pair of BUZZARDS flew from the Greenhouse Grounds, a few SWALLOWS fed low among the sheep, but that's about as good as it got today.

Thursday 14 April 2016

Dense fog covered the area this morning, not clearing properly until gone 09:00hrs

In the poor conditions very little was noted as I walked a circuit of Migrant Alley, just 4 LINNETS and an audible flyover MEADOW PIPIT were of any note.

A visit to the Wet Woods and Scrubby Woods was equally as disappointing, in Aprils gone past I could have anticipated hearing Cuckoo, Lesser Whitethroat, Turtle Dove, Willow warbler and Nightingale, maybe even an early Garden warbler, but sadly they will all now be premium patch visitors, and as such, bonus birds for my year list, at least the BLACKCAPS and CHIFFCHAFFS are still finding enough decent habitat to breed in, I watched the latter building a nest under some Bramble  :-)

Once the fog had cleared I headed back off to Migrant Alley, in some warm sunshine, a bit late for anything exciting there with all the disturbance, but as I sat watching the BUZZARDS soaring on every horizon, four LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS dropped onto the sheep pasture, then better still, a pair of REED BUNTINGS (82,64) alighted on the boundary hedgerow that borders the Greenhouse Grounds, a real scarce bird here, mainly recorded in Autumn, so it's good to get one on my year list now  :-)

An afternoon visit around the Greenhouse Grounds to look for Butterflies only produced a few flighty Small Tortoiseshells and a Peacock, it was on this date last year I recorded the first Orange Tip, I noted their favoured flower, the Cuckoo Flower, is coming into bloom, so they should be out any day now. As I left for home, I saw a WHITETHROAT feeding voraciously, so much so it took very little notice of my presence, it seemed to have a damaged wing, but could fly well enough  :-) A SPARROWHAWK was seen displaying over the Wet Woods as I neared home, but there was no sign of the Kestrel pair today.

Wednesday 13 April 2016

Another bright and sunny day, after initial mist and fog - proper spring weather  :-)

A view from Migrant Alley, across to ''Bustard Hill''

I spent 4 and a half hours this morning visiting the farmland parts of my patch, that is, the Pub Field, the ashes Lane fields, Migrant Alley and the Greenhouse Grounds. It proved an eventful visit, with the first YELLOW WAGTAIL (80,62) of the year heard, then seen as it flew over the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, its arrival is on the same date as the first recorded last year, the earliest arrival for the 15 years of recording, the 15 year median average first date being the 20th April. There were 7 LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS and a lone HERRING GULL feeding on the sheep pasture, but no ''chats'' out there today.

Another spring migrant had also arrived, this one at the Ashes Lane fields - the  WHITETHROAT (81,63) this is also an early arrival for this species on my patch, the joint third earliest, its median average arrival date is the 18th of April. The enjoyable visit was topped off by a flyover RED KITE, which flew over the Greenhouse Grounds, where the KESTREL pair were again seen. A sky watch produced plenty of BUZZARDS, a few single MEADOW PIPITS, SKYLARKS, GREYLAG and CANADA GEESE, GREY HERON, and at least 8 SWALLOWS, all local birds  :-)

Red Kite, no chance to get a decent photo, but this shows him well enough  :-)

A down side to the visit was seeing this Red Fox that had a snare round it's body. It doesn't matter what your opinion of Foxes is, this kind of ignorant, ''dont know what your doing'' kind of behaviour from some of the scum bag, local landowners / farmers is unacceptable.

Tuesday 12 April 2016

Early cloud dispersed readily this morning to leave sunny periods, in which, with light winds, it became the warmest day of the year so far here  :-)

In the lovely spring weather, I carried out a five hour full patch walk, recording an excellent 51 bird species, a couple of recent regulars were missing though, such as Greylag Goose and the Coot pair, which haven't been seen for two days now, so I assume they have left for better breeding habitat.

The highlight was finding another WHEATEAR at Migrant Alley, but almost as pleasing was seeing my first HOUSE MARTIN  (61,79) of the year as it sped over the Greenhouse Grounds, interacting with the four SWALLOWS briefly before it moved through. The KESTREL pair were seen at the Greenhouse Grounds, one of four raptor species recorded on my visit, with SPARROWHAWK, a pair of BUZZARDS and the PEREGRINE pair also being seen today.

The second Wheatear of the month, a female.

BLACKCAPS and CHIFFCHAFFS that were singing in the Scrubby Woods were the only summer birds heard there unfortunately, but all the other regular resident species turned out. NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER, GOLDCREST, BULLFINCH, COAL TIT, LONG TAILED TIT, STOCK DOVE, JAY, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, GREEN WOODPECKER and MISTLETHRUSH being the most noteworthy, the latter species was seen sitting on her nest again, hopefully she will be successful  :-)

I'm still trying to get a good shot of a Treecreeper. They are difficult to photograph and time is running out as the leaves will be back on the trees soon, making it impossible to get an image!

Another ''almost shot''  :-)

Flyovers from three Gull species helped pack out the day list, with HERRING GULL, LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL and BLACK HEADED GULL all being seen, plus a couple of MEADOW PIPITS and a GREY HERON flew over.

It was good to point the camera at something different today, this SMALL TORTOISESHELL was seen at the Ashes lane Fields, but no other butterflies were recorded, they are late this year!

Monday 11 April 2016

There was a bit of brightness about this morning, before cloud increased, bringing rain for the afternoon.

Very little was seen of note today during my 4 hour patch visit, only a couple of LESSER REDPOLLS that flew over Migrant Alley were added to yesterdays excellent daylist. A SPARROWHAWK was hunting in the Wet Woods and the KESTREL pair were around the Greenhouse Grounds, while overhead the local BUZZARD pair were aloft.

Just 4 BLACK HEADED GULLS remain at Migrant Alley of the hundreds that were visiting a month ago, a LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL flew over, plus a few HERRING GULLS did likewise.

A few more LINNETS have arrived at the Greenhouse Grounds, 8 were there this morning, plus the nearby Greenhouse copse had a BLACKCAP singing from it, having arrived overnight.

No Willow Warbler was recorded today, despite spending a while over at the scrubby Woods, I wonder if I will record one here this spring, or will they go the way of the Nightingale, Garden Warbler, Cuckoo, Turtle Dove and Spotted Flycatcher ? All used to breed here years ago  :-(

At least the LONG TAILED TITS are breeding, two to three pairs are on my patch, hopefully they will be successful, I got few nice images of one - not at the nest site I hasten to add!

Long Tailed Tit

Sunday 10 April 2016

A slight frost was present first thing this morning, after which some welcome sunshine was had, all-be-it a bit hazy at times.

In the better conditions, I undertook a four and a half hour full patch walk, in which I found an excellent total of 51 bird species ( a SISKIN was later added when one visited my garden feeders this afternoon)

There was just one addition to the months list during the visit, that was MEDITERRANEAN GULL (60) two were present on the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, bringing up the 60 species for April. There were also 4 BLACK HEADED GULLS, 4 HERRING GULLS and a LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL with them. A MEADOW PIPIT was heard flying over, plus a couple of SKYLARK were up singing and four SWALLOWS were whizzing about.

View looking across Migrant Alley and the Greenhouse Grounds, towards the hamlet of Pittswood.

Pairs of KESTREL and BUZZARDS were seen up hunting this morning, as was a male SPARROWHAWK. The Wet Woods, Scrubby Woods and Small Holding between them yielded all that could be expected from the regular resident species, the best of those being - GOLDCREST, LONG TAILED TIT, COAL TIT, TREECREEPER, NUTHATCH, BULLFINCH, JAY, STOCK DOVE, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, GREEN WOODPECKER, SONGTHRUSH and a MISTLETHRUSH that was sitting tight on a nest, which was placed in exactly the same place as last year  :-), also the summer species of BLACKCAP and CHIFFCHAFF were heard singing.

On the lakes there were pairs of CANADA and GREYLAG GEESE, plus the MUTE SWAN and COOT pair, the former look to be getting down to nesting bussiness, plus the usual MALLARDS and MOORHENS were present.

A GREY HERON flew low over as I photographed the Geese.

There was a pair of LINNETS at the Greenhouse Grounds, along with a few GREENFINCHES and GOLDFINCHES.

Friday 8 April 2016

Variable cloud cover this morning gave some sunny spells, in which it felt quite warm in the light wind.

After yesterdays away day, I was back on my patch early this morning, where things took a while to get going, but eventually my four and a half hour full patch walk produced a very good tally of 51 bird species.

The highlight of the visit, without doubt, turned out to be the the 50th species of the day - a superb female BLACK REDSTART (78,59) that was found on my second visit to Migrant Alley, flitting along the fence line, occasionally moving into the Greenhouse Grounds. What a great patch bird, not had one here since spring 2014.

Not the best photo i'll ever take, the bird was totally unapproachable! No matter though, I was just pleased to get this record shot  :-)

Also at Migrant alley, during my early visit, a SPARROWHAWK was seen perched on one on the paddock fence rails, plus 14 BLACK HEADED GULLS, 6 LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS and 5 HERRING GULLS were on the sheep pasture, over which a couple of MEADOW PIPITS flew. The KESTREL pair were on the Greenhouses and the BUZZARD pair were over the Wet Woods / Scrubby Woods, where all the scarcer, sometimes hard to find species were found - LONG TAILED TIT, NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER, GOLDCREST, LESSER REDPOLL, BULLFINCH, JAY, MISTLETHRUSH, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, GREEN WOODPECKER, STOCK DOVE and a couple of newly arrived BLACKCAPS singing lustily, competing with the 2 CHIFFCHAFFS, but I had to wait until I visited the Small Holding to find a COAL TIT today.

On the lakes the COOT pair and the MUTE SWAN pair remain, along with two pairs of nesting CANADA GEESE, plus a few MALLARDS and MOORHENS.

Mr. Sprawk was back at my garden feeders this afternoon, blood and feathers on his talons. He hasn't predated the female Blackcap yet though, she was seen again, feeding on dropped sunflower hearts. I also had a couple of SISKIN drop in, bringing the days list to 52 species  :-)