Sunday, 28 April 2013


With the lighter evenings I have been trying to get out onto the patch as much as possible with all the summer migrants arriving. The main target has been trying to bag a tawny owl. A surprising omission considering all the woodland on the patch.
Well I finally managed to add it on Wednesday in jammy circumstances... I had just got home and was standing outside the front door after another failed mission when I heard a noise I recognised....natterjack toads calling on the common. Pretty impressive considering they are 500m away! I jumped in the car and sure enough the pools were full of them and the calls were deafening!!! Certainly my patch highlight of the year so far.
While we were there I managed to hear 2 tawny owls too

As the weather yesterday morning was no good for ringing with heavy showers predicted, I decided to get out onto the patch early. Also as soon as I left the house I added two new species to the yearlist; both common and lesser whitethroats singing in the hedge by the school. An oystercatcher was calling from the roof on the school, a possible nest site to keep an eye open for...
Showers kept coming through and as I got to the bottom of the hill I thought I heard a call that I recognised. A stalk along the edge of the marsh and there was the prize feeding in the middle, all black body, white beak and frontal shield, COOT, MEGA!!!!! It is not very often, if at all, I get excited by coots but I was by this one... Slightly more expected, but still rare, was a fly-over grey heron.

I just about made it around the common before the weather took a bit change for the worse. I could hear the hail approaching as it was falling in the trees but I managed to run and take shelter under a trailer while it passed. Lots of migrants are now in with 9 blackcap, 8 chiffchaff, 4 willow warbler, 1 whitethroat and 2 lesser whitethroats, all singing males. After a dowsing in rain, I added a male wheatear to the daylist and headed home cold and damp. Spring my arse!!!

Yearlist now stands at 72 species, 75 points

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