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

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Bear with me...

Hopefully I will be able to post a few photos from my recent ringing trip to Eliat in Israel but I still have them all the edit yet before posting.

Had a decent day at work today with the highlights being 7 common cranes that just about made it to the reserve before turning north and heading over the Wash to the Lincolnshire coast. Loads of migrants in now and I had a decent 1st reedbed CBC. Lots of sedge warblers are now in with 30 singing males compared to only 4 reed warblers. There was a surprisingly high numbers of willow warblers feeding in the reeds and I assume they are migrants moving through.

House martin over the garden took the patch yearlist to 67 species, 69 points

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Spring at last

After such a long winter it great to be finally be able to get out birding before work so this morning I was out on the patch early to see what had arrived. I don't have time to get around the whole patch so I decided to concentrate on the common.
1st birds were not really ones you would expect in mid April, 20 fieldfare and a dozen redwing plus a singing mistle thrush. This part of the common is heavily grazed by rabbits and has the reputation for attracting ring ouzels. Skylarks were very evident with a least 6 singing males and then I stumbled on a smart male wheatear. Around the edge of the common there were at least 6 chiffchaffs but surprise bird in the morning was a flyover whimbrel.

A swallow over the village on the way home near the stables where they normally breed and a curlew flying over the garden this evening.

Looking forward the the spring kicking off