Monday, 11 April 2011

8th-11th April

On Friday, there were 350 moths in the traps of 27 species probably the most so far this year, the best find was the first Great Prominent of the year. Because there were so many moths the walk was shorter than usual. Walking the fields several CHIFFCHAFFS and BLACKCAPS could be heard and 4 JAYS flew towards the newly planted orchard, SKYLARKS again filled the airwaves, the best bird of the morning was a COMMON WHITETHROAT (84). Other birds included LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL, COMMON GULL, BULLFINCH as well as good numbers of GOLDFINCH, LINNET and HOUSE SPARROWS.

Saturday morning was the first of 3 guided walks this spring, 18 people came at 5.30am and we spent until around 11.30am walking the fields and the woods, with breakfast around 8.30am. We saw 43 species on a beautiful morning, I was hoping for a few new migrants maybe a Cuckoo (Pete the Warden had one Thursday evening) or a Nightingale, unfortunately we struggled to find many migrants but BLACKCAPS were absolutely everywhere and the years first COOT (85) was found. 2 MARSH TITS showed well and while we watched them 2 GOLDCRESTS landed almost directly above our heads. We had great views of a pair of BUZZARDS and great views of a nice male YELLOWHAMMER. We also had 4 butterfly species and several Bee Flies. Stephen saw the Peregrine again over the wood during morning.
After an early start Saturday, I had a lay in on Sunday, lazy I know! and arrived at the castle at around 8am, during the morning 3 male REED BUNTINGS sang and the COOT was still on the lake with 2 GREYLAGS, I watched a female CHAFFINCH gathering what looked like spiders webs, then disappearing into a holly hedge.
Chaffinch collecting Spiders webs

'Is that nest ready yet?'

2 KESTRELS flew together and briefly and tussled for a few seconds, I managed a few MARSH TITS later and the first COMMON SNIPE for sometime.
This morning we were back on moths it was a cool night and a little windy so it was fairly uneventful probably around 5 Lunar Marbled Browns were the highlight. So another shortened walk meant I stuck to the fields, I was joined briefly by an old friend Ian who I've known since primary school! We had a nice view of a CHIFFCHAFF and Ian had heard Nightingale and Garden Warbler. I had a WILLOW WARBLER, which sang from near the barn also 12 LINNETS flew over there. I continued round the fields and heard a short burst of song from the NIGHTINGALE (86) but couldn't locate the Garden Warbler. Another REED BUNTING sang from the hedge and the COMMON WHITETHROAT was singing from well within a blackthorn. Several WRENS sang from the top of hedges nicely out in the open mainly when the battery had gone on the camera!! I think the pictures on this post look a bit better if you click on them, I still need lots of practice!
The Kestrel was seen at work again


Simon said...

Wow, 3 firsts in one visit, nice one!!! I too had a Whitethroat today, good to hear the Nightingales are inland now.

ShySongbird said...

You have clearly had a very enjoyable few days Alan with plenty of nice sightings. Lovely photos, I particularly like the male Chaffinch and the Kestrel.

You had a lay in until 8am...!! Unfortunately, I can do a lot better (or worse!) than that ;) If only I were a lark and not an owl...

Bob Bushell said...

Nice blog and photos. I have never been in right place to catch a male Kestrel, lots of females, but no males.

Simon said...

Hi Alan, just reaslied my mistake, sorry...a first a day is more than brilliant, as you know!

Alan Pavey said...

Hi Simon, It was nice to get a few new birds, hopefully theres more to come :-)

Hi ShySongbird, Thanks, I really enjoyed taking the guided walk but slightly disappointed I couldn't find them a couple of extra migrants, luckily the weather was great, I am a bit of a Lark, one way or another! :-)

Hi Bob, Thanks, I'm still hoping to improve on the photos, hopefully the Kestrel will give me some more chances to practice, although it sits in the same place so the photos won't be very different! :-)